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Pope Francis on Tuesday held a meeting with Political, Economic, and Civic Leaders at Saint Francis Church in Quito, Ecuador. Below please find the official English translation of the prepared remarks of the Holy Father.  Meeting with Political, Economic and Civic Leaders Saint Francis Church, Quito Tuesday, 7 July 2015 Dear Friends,             I am pleased to be with you, men and women who represent and advance the social, political and economic life of this country.              As I entered this church, the Mayor of Quito gave me the keys to the city.  So I can say that here, in Saint Francis of Quito, I feel at home.  His expression of affectionate closeness, opening your doors to me, allows me to speak, in turn, about a few other keys: keys to our life in society, beginning with family life.             Our society benefits when each person and social group feels truly at home.  In a family, parents, grandparents and children feel at home; no one is excluded.  If someone has a problem, even a serious one, even if he brought it upon himself, the rest of the family comes to his assistance; they support him.  His problems are theirs.  Should it not be the same in society?  Our relationships in society and political life, though, are often based on confrontation and the attempt to eliminate our opponents.  My position, my ideas and my plans will move forward if I can prevail over others and impose my will.  Is this the way a family should be?  In families, everyone contributes to the common purpose, everyone works for the common good, not denying each person’s individuality but encouraging and supporting it.  The joys and sorrows of each are felt by all.  That is what it means to be a family!  If only we could view our political opponents or neighbors in the same way we view our children or our spouse, mother or father!  Do we love our society?  Do we love our country, the community which we are trying to build?  Do we love it in the abstract, in theory?  Let us love it by our actions more than by our words!  In every person, in concrete situations, in our life together, love always leads to communication, never to isolation.             This feeling can give rise to small gestures which strengthen personal bonds.  I have often spoken the importance of the family as the primary cell of society.  In the family, we find the basic values of love, fraternity and mutual respect, which translate into essential values for society as a whole: gratitude, solidarity and subsidiarity.              Parents know that all their children are equally loved, even though each has his or her own character.  But when children refuse to share what they have freely received, this relationship breaks down.  The love of their parents helps children to overcome their selfishness, to learn to live with others, to yield and be patient.  In the wider life of society we come to see that “gratuitousness” is not something extra, but rather a necessary condition of justice.  Who we are, and what we have, has been given to us so that we can place it at the service of others.  Our task is to make it bear fruit in good works.  The goods of the earth are meant for everyone, and however much someone may parade his property, it has a social mortgage.  In this way we move beyond purely economic justice, based on commerce, towards social justice, which upholds the fundamental human right to a dignified life.  The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits.  As stewards of these riches which we have received, we have an obligation toward society as a whole and towards future generations.  We cannot bequeath this heritage to them without proper care for the environment, without a sense of gratuitousness born of our contemplation of the created world.  Among us today are some of our brothers and sisters representing the indigenous peoples of the Equatorial Amazon.  That region is one of the “richest areas both in the number of species and in endemic, rare or less protected species…  it requires greater protection because of its immense importance for the global ecosystem… it possesses an enormously complex biodiversity which is almost impossible to appreciate fully, yet when [such woodlands] are burned down or leveled for purposes of cultivation, within the space of a few years countless species are lost and the areas frequently become arid wastelands” (cf. Laudato Si’, 37-38).   Ecuador – together with other countries bordering the Amazon – has an opportunity to become a teacher of integral ecology.  We received this world as an inheritance from past generations, but also as a loan from future generations, to whom we will have to return it!             Out of the family’s experience of fraternity is born solidarity in society, which does not only consist in giving to those in need, but in feeling responsible for one another.  If we see others as our brothers and sisters, then no one can be left out or set aside.             Ecuador, like many Latin American nations, is now experiencing profound social and cultural changes, new challenges which need to be faced by every sector of society.  Migration, overcrowded cities, consumerism, crises in the family, unemployment and pockets of poverty: all these factors create uncertainty and tensions which threaten social harmony.  Laws and regulations, as well as social planning, need to aim at inclusion, create opportunities for dialogue and encounter, while leaving behind all forms of repression, excessive control or loss of freedom as painful past memories.  Hoping in a better future calls for offering real opportunities to people, especially young people, creating employment, and ensuring an economic growth which is shared by all (rather than simply existing on paper, in macroeconomic statistics), and promoting a sustainable development capable of generating a solid and cohesive social fabric.             Finally, the respect for others which we learn in the family finds social expression in subsidiarity.  To recognize that our choices are not necessarily the only legitimate ones is a healthy exercise in humility.  In acknowledging the goodness inherent in others, even with their limitations, we see the richness present in diversity and the value of complementarity.  Individuals and groups have the right to go their own way, even though they may sometimes make mistakes.  In full respect for that freedom, civil society is called to help each person and social organization to take up its specific role and thus contribute to the common good.  Dialogue is needed and is fundamental for arriving at the truth, which cannot be imposed, but sought with a sincere and critical spirit.  In a participatory democracy, each social group, indigenous peoples, Afro-Ecuadorians, women, civic associations and those engaged in public service are all indispensable participants in this dialogue.  The walls, patios and cloisters of this city eloquently make this point: rooted in elements of Incan and Caranqui culture, beautiful in their proportions and shapes, boldly and strikingly combining different styles, the works of art produced by the “Quito school” sum up that great dialogue, with its successes and failures, which is Ecuador’s history.  Today we see how beautiful it is.  If the past was marked by errors and abuses – how can we deny it! – we can say that the amalgamation which resulted radiates such exuberance that we can look to the future with great hope.             The Church wishes for her part to cooperate in the pursuit of the common good, through her social and educational works, promoting ethical and spiritual values, and serving as a prophetic sign which brings a ray of light and hope to all, especially those most in need.              Thank you for being here, for listening to me.  I ask you please to carry my words of encouragement to the different communities and groups which you represent.  May the Lord grant that the civil society which you represent will always be a fitting setting for experiencing and practicing these values of which I have spoken.       ... 15 min 54 sec
(Vatican Radio) On Tuesday afternoon, Pope Francis travelled to the Catholic University of Ecuador for an encounter with “The World of Schools and Universities.” The meeting included songs, prayers, and testimonies, and concluded with an address by the Holy Father. Below, please find the full text of the Pope’s remarks: Meeting with Educators Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador Quito Tuesday, 7 July 2015 My Brother Bishops, Father Rector, Distinguished Authorities, Dear Professors and Students, Dear Friends, I am very happy to be here with you this afternoon at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, which for almost sixty years has helped to further the Church’s educational mission in service to the men and women of this country. I am grateful for your kind words of welcome, which expressed your profound hopes and concerns in the face of the challenges, both personal and social, of your work as educators. In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus, the Master, teaches the crowds and the small group of his disciples by accommodating himself to their ability to understand. He does this with parables, like that of the sower (cf. Lk 8:4-15). He does it in a way that everyone can understand. Jesus does not seek to “play the professor”. Instead, he seeks to reach people’s hearts, their understanding and their lives, so that they may bear fruit. The parable of the sower speaks to us of “cultivating”. It speaks of various kinds of soil, ways of sowing and bearing fruit, and how they are all related. Ever since the time of Genesis, God has quietly urged us to “cultivate and care for the earth”. God does not only give us life: he gives us the earth, he gives us all of creation. He does not only give man a partner and endless possibilities: he also gives human beings a task, he gives them a mission. He invites them to be a part of his creative work and he says: “Cultivate it! I am giving you seeds, soil, water and sun. I am giving you your hands and those of your brothers and sisters. There it is, it is yours. It is a gift, a present, an offering. It is not something that can be bought or acquired. It precedes us and it will be there long after us. Our world is a gift given to us by God so that, with him, we can make it our own. God did not will creation for himself, so he could see himself reflected in it. On the contrary: creation is a gift to be shared. It is the space that God gives us to build up with one another, to build a “we”. The world, history, all of time – this is the setting in which we build this “we” with God, with others, with the earth. This invitation is always present, more or less consciously in our life; it is always there. But there is something else which is special. As Genesis recounts, after the word “cultivate”, another word immediately follows: “care”. Each explains the other. They go hand in hand. Those who do not cultivate do not care; those who do not care do not cultivate. We are not only invited to share in the work of creation and to cultivate it, to make it grow and to develop it. We are also invited to care for it, to protect it, to be its guardians. Nowadays we are increasingly aware of how important this is. It is no longer a mere recommendation, but rather a requirement, “because of the harm we have inflicted on [the earth] by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed it. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder it at will… This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor” (Laudato Si’, 2). There is a relationship between our life and that of mother earth, between the way we live and the gift we have received from God. “The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation” (Laudato Si’, 48). Yet just as both can “deteriorate”, we can also say that they can “support one another and can be changed for the better”. This reciprocal relationship can lead to openness, transformation, and life, or to destruction and death. One thing is certain: we can no longer turn our backs on reality, on our brothers and sisters, on mother earth. It is wrong to turn aside from what is happening all around us, as if certain situations did not exist or have nothing to do with our life. Again and again we sense the urgency of the question which God put to Cain, “Where is your brother?” But I wonder if our answer continues to be: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). Here, in this university setting, it would be worthwhile reflecting on the way we educate about this earth of ours, which cries out to heaven. Our academic institutions are seedbeds, places full of possibility, fertile soil which we must care for, cultivate and protect. Fertile soil thirsting for life. My question to you, as educators, is this: Do you watch over your students, helping them to develop a critical sense, an open mind capable of caring for today’s world? A spirit capable of seeking new answers to the varied challenges that society sets before us? Are you able to encourage them not to disregard the world around them? Does our life, with its uncertainties, mysteries and questions, find a place in the university curriculum or different academic activities? Do we enable and support a constructive debate which fosters dialogue in the pursuit of a more humane world? One avenue of reflection involves all of us, family, schools and teachers. How do we help our young people not to see a university degree as synonymous with higher status, money and social prestige. How can we help make their education a mark of greater responsibility in the face of today’s problems, the needs of the poor, concern for the environment? I also have a question for you, dear students. You are Ecuador’s present and future, the seedbed of your society’s future growth. Do you realize that this time of study is not only a right, but a privilege? How many of your friends, known or unknown, would like to have a place in this house but, for various reasons, do not? To what extent do our studies help us feel solidarity with them?   Educational communities play an essential role in the enrichment of civic and cultural life. It is not enough to analyze and describe reality: there is a need to shape environments of creative thinking, discussions which develop alternatives to current problems, especially today. Faced with the globalization of a technocratic paradigm which tends to believe “that every increase in power means an increase of progress itself, an advance in security, usefulness, welfare and vigor; …an assimilation of new values into the stream of culture, as if reality, goodness and truth automatically flow from technological and economic power as such” (Laudato Si’, 105), it is urgent that we keep reflecting on and talking about our current situation. We need to ask ourselves about the kind of culture we want not only for ourselves, but for our children and our grandchildren. We have received this earth as an inheritance, as a gift, in trust. We would do well to ask ourselves: “What kind of world do we want to leave behind? What meaning or direction do we want to give to our lives? Why have we been put here? What is the purpose of our work and all our efforts?” (cf. Laudato Si’, 160). Personal initiatives are always necessary and good. But we are asked to go one step further: to start viewing reality in an organic and not fragmented way, to ask about where we stand in relation to others, inasmuch as “everything is interconnected” (Laudato Si’, 138). As a university, as educational institutions, as teachers and students, life itself challenges us to answer this question: What does this world need us for? Where is your brother? May the Holy Spirit inspire and accompany us, for he has summoned us, invited us, given us the opportunity and the duty to offer the best of ourselves. He is the same Spirit who on the first day of creation moved over the waters, ready to transform them, ready to bestow life. He is the same Spirit who gave the disciples the power of Pentecost.  The Spirit does not abandon us. He becomes one with us, so that we can encounter paths of new life. May he, the Spirit, always be our teacher and our companion along the way.   (from Vatican Radio)... 1 hour 37 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis had a pair of major public engagements on Tuesday afternoon: a meeting with students, faculty and other representatives of the world of education and culture at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador in Quito; and a meeting with representatives of Ecuadorean civil society, in the church of St. Francis, also in Quito. The venue for the first encounter is a private institution founded in 1946 and belonging to the Archdiocese, which has been operated by the Society of Jesus since its founding. It counts 30 thousand students across 14 faculties and institutes in the arts, sciences and applied disciplines ranging from the sacred sciences to the natural & social sciences, to architecture, engineering, and nursing, as well as law and medicine. In remarks prepared for the occasion, Pope Francis said, “Our academic institutions are seedbeds, places full of possibility, fertile soil which we must care for, cultivate and protect: fertile soil thirsting for life.” He then put a question directly to the educators present: “Do you watch over your students, helping them to develop a critical sense, an open mind capable of caring for today’s world?” The Holy Father also put a series of questions to the students in attendance, whom he described as Ecuador’s present and future, the seedbed of their society’s future growth: “Do you realize that this time of study is not only a right, but a privilege?” he asked. “How many of your friends, known or unknown, would like to have a place in this house but, for various reasons, do not?  To what extent do our studies help us feel solidarity with them?” Speaking to his whole audience, Pope Francis said, “As a university, as educational institutions, as teachers and students, life itself challenges us to answer this question: What does this world need us for?  Where is your brother?” Pope Francis drew his prepared remarks to a close with a prayer: “May the Holy Spirit inspire and accompany us,” he said, “for he has summoned us, invited us, given us the opportunity and the duty to offer the best of ourselves.” The Holy Father went on to say, “He is the same Spirit who on the first day of creation moved over the waters, ready to transform them, ready to bestow life.  He is the same Spirit who gave the disciples the power of Pentecost.” “The Spirit does not abandon us,” he concluded. “He becomes one with us, so that we can encounter paths of new life.  May he, the Spirit, always be our teacher and our companion along the way.” Following the meeting at the University, Pope Francis made his way to the church dedicated to St. Francis – la iglesia de San Francisco – in Quito, which is the oldest Catholic religious house in all of Latin America, founded in 1536 by the Friars Minor, and built over the course of nearly a century and a half, concluding in 1680. It was at the main entrance of the church structure that Pope Francis was greeted by the mayor of Quito,  Mauricio Rodas Espinel, who gave the Holy Father the keys to the city. In remarks prepared for the members of civil society organizations gathered for the meeting, Pope Francis spoke of profound social and cultural changes Ecuador is facing along with every other Latin American country – new challenges which he said must be faced by every sector of society, challenges including migration, overcrowded cities, consumerism, crises in the family, unemployment and pockets of poverty. “All these factors create uncertainty and tensions which threaten social harmony,” said Pope Francis. “ Laws and regulations, as well as social planning, need to aim at inclusion, create opportunities for dialogue and encounter, while leaving behind all forms of repression, excessive control or loss of freedom as painful past memories.” Pope Francis went on to say, “Hoping in a better future calls for offering real opportunities to people, especially young people, creating employment, and ensuring an economic growth which is shared by all (rather than simply existing on paper, in macroeconomic statistics), and promoting a sustainable development capable of generating a solid and cohesive social fabric.” The Holy Father also spoke of the respect for others which we learn in the family finds social expression in subsidiarity, noting that, to recognize that our choices are not necessarily the only legitimate ones is a healthy exercise in humility. “In acknowledging the goodness inherent in others, even with their limitations, we see the richness present in diversity and the value of complementarity,” he said, adding that individuals and groups have the right to go their own way, even though they may sometimes make mistakes. “In full respect for that freedom, civil society is called to help each person and social organization to take up its specific role and thus contribute to the common good.  Dialogue is needed and is fundamental for arriving at the truth, which cannot be imposed, but sought with a sincere and critical spirit.” “In a participatory democracy,” the Holy Father went on to say, “each social group, indigenous peoples, Afro-Ecuadorians, women, civic associations and those engaged in public service are all indispensable participants in this dialogue.  The walls, patios and cloisters of this city eloquently make this point: rooted in elements of Incan and Caranqui culture, beautiful in their proportions and shapes, boldly and strikingly combining different styles, the works of art produced by the ‘Quito school’ sum up that great dialogue, with its successes and failures, which is Ecuador’s history.” “Today,” concluded Pope Francis, “we see how beautiful it is: if the past was marked by errors and abuses – how can we deny it! – we can say that the amalgamation which resulted radiates such exuberance that we can look to the future with great hope,” and, “the Church wishes for her part to cooperate in the pursuit of the common good, through her social and educational works, promoting ethical and spiritual values, and serving as a prophetic sign which brings a ray of light and hope to all, especially those most in need.” (from Vatican Radio)... 1 hour 52 min
"Tínhamos certeza de que o papa ia recordar o genocídio. E a coragem dele mudou a atitude do mundo inteiro", declarou dom Raphael Minassian, bispo católico armênio da Europa do Leste, à fundação Ajuda à Igreja que Sofre. O prelado sublinhou que Francisco "nos estimulou à reconciliação: um ato de elevadíssimo valor ... 5 hours 1 min
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(Vatican Radio) “The Word of God calls us to live in unity, that the world might believe.” With these words, Pope Francis set the theme of evangelization within the context of Jesus’ prayer for unity at the Last Supper, during his homily for Mass at Bicentennial Park in Quito, Ecuador. Listen to Christopher Wells' report:  Evangelization, he said, does not consist in “grand words, or complicated concepts” but in the “joy of the Gospel.” When Jesus prayed for unity, in the night before His Passion and Death, He was experiencing “the worst of this world, a world He nonetheless loved dearly.” In our day, too, we are often confronted with a world “torn apart by wars and violence.” But it would be a mistake to imagine that division and hatred occur only between groups of people or countries. “Rather they are a manifestation of the ‘widespread individualism’ which divides us and sets us against one another.” In response, the Pope said, we must take up “the cry of Jesus” and accept “the grace and challenge of being builders of unity.” Evangelization, he continued, can be a way to unite “our hopes, concerns, ideals, and even utopian visions.” The desire for unity “involves the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, the conviction that we have an immense treasure to share, one which grows stronger from being shared.” Evangelization does not mean proselytizing, forcing our beliefs on others, but rather “attracting by our witness those who are far off.” Evangelization means constantly fostering communion, not only outwardly, but also within the Church. Pope Francis emphasized that this communion must flow from our personal encounter with Christ, which leads us to encounter others in order to lead them to Christ. This unity in Christ, he said, does not result in uniformity, but rather in a “multi-faceted and inviting harmony.” Jesus prays that all of us might be part of “a great family in which God is our Father and all of us are brothers and sisters.” This unity makes us part of the divine life of God, and this, the Pope said, “is the salvation which God makes possible for us, and which the Church proclaims with joy: to be a part of the divine ‘we’.” In Bicentennial Park, commemorating two hundred years of independence for Ecuador, Pope Francis linked the call to evangelization to “the original cry for freedom in this country.” He said the cry of St Paul – “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” – is “a cry every bit as urgent and pressing as was the cry for independence. It is similarly thrilling in its ardour. May each of you be a witness to a fraternal communion which shines forth in our world.” It is when we give of ourselves, he concluded, that “we discover our true identity as children of God in the image of the Father and, like him, givers of life; we discover that we are brothers and sisters of Jesus, to whom we bear witness. This is what it means to evangelize; this is the new revolution – for our faith is always revolutionary –, this is our deepest and most enduring cry.” You can find the full text of Pope Francis' prepared remarks on our website. (from Vatican Radio)... 5 hours 58 min
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(Vatican Radio) In his homily during the “Mass for the Evangelization of Peoples,” celebrated in Quito’s Parque Bicentenario (Bicentennial Park), Pope Francis focused on the theme of unity and independence. The Holy Father spoke of Jesus’ cry for unity at the Last Supper, and Latin America’s cry for independence which is commemorated in the Park where the Liturgy took place. “I would like to see these two cries joined together,” he said, “under the beautiful challenge of evangelization.” He continued, "We evangelize not with grand words, or complicated concepts, but with 'the joy of the Gospel'." The full text of Pope Francis’ prepared homily for the Mass for the Evangelization of Peoples can be found below: Mass for the Evangelization of Peoples Quito, Parque Bicentenario Tuesday, 7 July 2015 The word of God calls us to live in unity, that the world may believe. I think of those hushed words of Jesus during the Last Supper as more of a shout, a cry rising up from this Mass which we are celebrating in Bicentennial Park. The bicentennial which this Park commemorates was that of Latin America’s cry for independence. It was a cry which arose from being conscious of a lack of freedom, of exploitation and despoliation, of being “subject to the passing whims of the powers that be” ( Evangelii Gaudium , 213). I would like to see these two cries joined together, under the beautiful challenge of evangelization. We evangelize not with grand words, or complicated concepts, but with “the joy of the Gospel”, which “fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. For those who ac­cept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness” (ibid., 1). We who are gathered here at table with Jesus are ourselves a cry, a shout born of the conviction that his presence leads us to unity, “pointing to a horizon of beauty and inviting others to a delicious banquet” (ibid., 15). “Father, may they be one... so that the world may believe”. This was Jesus’ prayer as he raised his eyes to heaven. This petition arose in a context of mission: “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world”. At that moment, the Lord was experiencing in his own flesh the worst of this world, a world he nonetheless loved dearly. Knowing full well its intrigues, its falsity and its betrayals, he did not turn away, he did not complain. We too encounter daily a world torn apart by wars and violence. It would be facile to think that division and hatred only concern struggles between countries or groups in society. Rather, they are a manifestation of that “widespread individualism” which divides us and sets us against one another (cf. Evangelii Gaudium , 99), that legacy of sin lurking in the heart of human beings, which causes so much suffering in society and all of creation. But is it precisely this troubled world into which Jesus sends us. We must not respond with nonchalance, or complain we do not have the resources to do the job, or that the problems are too big. Instead, we must respond by taking up the cry of Jesus and accepting the grace and challenge of being builders of unity. There was no shortage of conviction or strength in that cry for freedom which arose a little more than two hundred years ago. But history tells us that it only made headway once personal differences were set aside, together with the desire for power and the inability to appreciate other movements of liberation which were different yet not thereby opposed. Evangelization can be a way to unite our hopes, concerns, ideals and even utopian visions. We believe this and we make it our cry. I have already said that, “in our world, especially in some countries, different forms of war and conflict are re-emerging, yet we Christians remain steadfast in our intention to respect others, to heal wounds, to build bridges, to strengthen relationships and to ‘bear one an­other’s burdens’ ( Evangelii Gaudium , 67). The desire for unity involves the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, the conviction that we have an immense treasure to share, one which grows stronger from being shared, and becomes ever more sensitive to the needs of others (cf. ibid., 9). Hence the need to work for inclusivity at every level, to avoid forms of selfishness, to build communication and dialogue, to encourage collaboration. We need to give our hearts to our companions along the way, without suspicion or distrust. “Trusting others is an art, and peace is an art” (ibid., 244). Our unity can hardly shine forth if spiritual worldliness makes us feud among ourselves in a futile quest for power, prestige, pleasure or economic security. Such unity is already an act of mission, “that the world may believe”. Evangelization does not consist in proselytizing, but in attracting by our witness those who are far off, in humbly drawing near to those who feel distant from God and the Church, those who are fearful or indifferent, and saying to them: “The Lord, with great respect and love, is also calling you to be a part of his people” ( Evangelii Gaudium , 113). The Church’s mission as sacrament of salvation also has to do with her identity as a pilgrim people called to embrace all the nations of the earth. The more intense the communion between us, the more effective our mission becomes (cf. John Paul II, Pastores Gregis , 22). Becoming a missionary Church requires constantly fostering communion, since mission does not have to do with outreach alone… We also need to be missionaries within the Church, showing that she is “a mother who reaches out, a welcoming home, a constant school of missionary communion” ( Aparecida Document , 370). Jesus’ prayer can be realized because he has consecrated us. “For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth”. The spiritual life of an evangelizer is born of this profound truth, which should not be confused with a few comforting religious exercises. Jesus consecrates us so that we can encounter him personally. And this encounter leads us in turn to encounter others, to become involved with our world and to develop a passion for evangelization (cf. Evangelii Gaudium , 78). Intimacy with God, in itself incomprehensible, is revealed by images which speak to us of communion, communication, self-giving and love. For that reason, the unity to which Jesus calls us is not uniformity, but rather a “multifaceted and inviting harmony” ( Evangelii Gaudium , 117). The wealth of our differences, our diversity which becomes unity whenever we commemorate Holy Thursday, makes us wary of all totalitarian, ideological or sectarian schemes. Nor is this unity something we can fashion as we will, setting conditions, choosing who can belong and who cannot. Jesus prays that we will all become part of a great family in which God is our Father and all of us are brothers and sisters. This is not about having the same tastes, the same concerns, the same gifts. We are brothers and sisters because God created us out of love and destined us, purely of his own initiative, to be his sons and daughters (cf. Eph 1:5). We are brothers and sisters because “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” (Gal 4:6). We are brothers and sisters because, justified by the blood of Christ Jesus (cf. Rom 5:9), we have passed from death to life and been made “coheirs” of the promise (cf. Gal 3:26-29; Rom 8:17). That is the salvation which God makes possible for us, and which the Church proclaims with joy: to be part of the divine “we”. Our cry, in this place linked to the original cry for freedom in this country, echoes that of Saint Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). It is a cry every bit as urgent and pressing as was the cry for independence. It is similarly thrilling in its ardor. May each of you be a witness to a fraternal communion which shines forth in our world! How beautiful it would be if all could admire how much we care for one another, how we encourage and help each other. Giving of ourselves establishes an interpersonal relationship; we do not give “things” but our very selves. In any act of giving, we give ourselves. “Giving of oneself” means letting all the power of that love which is God’s Holy Spirit take root in our lives, opening our hearts to his creative power. When we give of ourselves, we discover our true identity as children of God in the image of the Father and, like him, givers of life; we discover that we are brothers and sisters of Jesus, to whom we bear witness. This is what it means to evangelize; this is the new revolution – for our faith is always revolutionary –, this is our deepest and most enduring cry.   (from Vatican Radio)... 7 hours 58 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday celebrates Mass for hundreds of thousands of people gathered at Quito’s Bicentennial Park on the second full day of his pastoral visit to Ecuador. Earlier the Pope met with the country’s Catholic bishops at a closed door encounter in the park’s Congress Centre, as Philippa Hitchen reports: Listen:  The giant bicentennial park was inaugurated just two years ago on the site where Quito’s old airport stood, the same site where the plane carrying another Pope – John Paul II – touched down during his visit to Ecuador back in 1985. The park is one of the most ambitious green spaces in the city, as well as hosting a Congress Centre for music festivals and major sporting events. It also provided a perfect spot for Pope Francis’ private meeting with some 40 members of Ecuador’s bishops conference before the celebration of Mass dedicated to the themes of unity and evangelisation. Later on Tuesday afternoon, Pope Francis will visit Ecuador’s Pontifical Catholic University, run by the Jesuits, for a meeting with students, teachers and others involved in the vital mission of education. There the Pope is expected to respond directly to comments and questions put to him by a young student, a teacher and the rector of the university. From there Pope Francis moves onto the imposing church and monastery of St Francis, the oldest religious building in the whole of Latin America. Built on the site of a former palace and military headquarters of the indigenous Inca rulers, its construction began in the mid-16th century, just a few years after the founding of the city, but was not completed for about another hundred and fifty years. The complex, which has been partially destroyed by earthquakes and rebuilt, now houses over 3.500 works of colonial art, including a famous 18th century sculpture known as the Virgin of Quito. In this august setting, the Pope will meet with members of the city’s contemporary art world, as well as business leaders, sporting and voluntary organisations and representatives of the indigenous peoples living in Ecuador’s Amazon basin. Finally, before returning to the Apostolic Nunciature, Pope Francis will make a brief private visit to the ornate Jesuit church in Quito, one of the most significant works of Spanish Baroque architecture on the continent of Latin America. (from Vatican Radio)... 8 hours 31 min
(Vatican Radio) Approximately one-and-a-half million people filled Quito’s Bicentennial Park for an open air Mass with Pope Francis, on the second day of his Apostolic Voyage to South America. The Park is the largest green space in the city, built on the site of Quito’s old airport. Bicentennial Park was inaugurated 27 April 2013 to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of Ecuador’s independence. Prior to the Mass, Pope Francis was able to meet privately with the Bishops of Ecuador. Including retired prelates, there are 52 Ecuadoran Bishops; more than 40 were present for the meeting with the Pope and for the Solemn Celebration of the Eucharist that followed.  (from Vatican Radio)... 9 hours 41 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday spent lunch with his brother Jesuits on Monday in Guayaquil, Ecuador. One of the highlights was the birthday celebration of one of his collaborators. Listen to our report:  “What a beautiful thing to celebrate your birthday” read the Tuesday-morning message on Twitter by Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ, the editor of the Rome-based Jesuit weekly, La Civiltà Cattolica. The pictures attached to the tweet showed why this, his 49th birthday, was so special.  Pope Francis, along with around 20 other Jesuits, congratulating him, and sharing some hazelnut cream cake, on which the Holy Father insisted on having a candle. Pope Francis joked that he had forgotten his birthday, and had not brought a gift. Pope Francis met with the Jesuits for over an hour, and the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said the meeting and lunch were “informal” and held in a “familial atmosphere.” Pope Francis also held a brief, private meeting with the 90-year-old Father Francisco Cortes – better known as “Padre Paquito” – who served at the Colegio Javier, where many Argentinian Jesuits studied for the priesthood. (from Vatican Radio)... 11 hours 35 min
Quatro bombas explodiram em Londres na quinta-feira, 7 de julho de 2005, deixando 56 mortos, incluindo os quatro suspeitos dos atentados. 700 feridos, 22 deles em estado grave e outros 330 hospitalizados. O Papa Bento XVI, logo depois de receber a notícia dos ataques em Londres, em oração na sua capela particula... 12 hours 23 min
From Quito to Guayaquil and back. From the Andean highlands to the Pacific coast, experiencing a strong temperature change and even some rain, Monday, 6 July, the Pope's second day in Ecuador was extremely long and very demanding in every respect. And the locals did not fail to support the Pope with impressive displays of affection. At every turn, there were streams of people who had taken to the streets to show their love and gratitude. Millions of Ecuadorians manned the intersections waiting for a chance to see the popemobile, welcoming him to their home country like one of their own. Francis visited the coastal city of Guayaquil in the morning. It is from this city that masses of people leave for the Galápagos islands. But this is not the reason for the city's historical importance, rather Guayaquil was essential to Latin America's independence. It is not, however, exempt from the evils of the continent, as witnessed by the many slums where many humble families live in small wooden and bamboo huts with tin roofs. It was here that, in 1985, John Paul II visited this periphery, which looks similar to the villas miserias in Argentina. The popemobile reached the park where he celebrated Mass for the family in the presence of at least one million faithful, many of who had camped out overnight. For this occasion the Holy Father used a wooden staff, a copy of the one he used during his visit to the Holy Land in May 2014 which was made by prisoners at detention facility in Sanremo. The original staff, very dear to the Pope, was damaged during that previous visit and thus an exact replica was made with olive wood from Bethlehem for him to use in Guayaquil. Rhythms of the traditional music, dancing, arms waving coloured banners all accompanied the celebration of Mass, recalling the simple joy of Ecuadorians. It was with this same atmosphere that the Pope had lunch with the Jesuit community at Javier College in Guayaquil. Among the Jesuits present was the elderly father Francisco Cortés, known as “Padre Paquito”. Walking with a cane, the Spanish priest, who will soon turn 91, has lived for 50 years in Ecuador working as a missionary, and now dedicates his time to hearing confessions. The Pope met with Fr Cortés privately and sat beside him at lunch, recalling their friendship long ago. When Bergoglio was not yet the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he chose to send his students to Javier College for formation and they were always welcomed by the vice rector, Padre Paquito. Gianluca Biccini... 12 hours 50 min
The family was at the centre of the Pope's second day in Ecuador. Speaking to a vast crowd of people who had gathered in Los Samanes Park in Guayaquil for Mass on 6 July, he said that “the family constitutes the best 'social capital'”. He also recalled the family's irreplaceable role in society. Launching an appeal to support families and guarantee them aid and services, he continued with the hope that they may not be a “type of alms, but rather a genuine 'social debt' … which contributes to the common good”. For the Pope, the family is a key place to defend life; it is school for young ones, a reference point for young people, a welcoming place for the elderly. It is, he said, a “domestic Church” where we learn to love and serve and where tenderness and mercy are spread. On this subject, Francis referred to the Extraordinary Jubilee which will open on 8 December and the Synod of Bishops to be held in October. The Holy Father invited everyone to develop true spiritual discernment so as to identify concrete solutions to the challenges the family is called to confront. The homily at Mass in Guayaquil The greeting to the faithful of Quito... 12 hours 54 min
Quito, Equador. Terça-feira, 7 de julho - 09:00 - O Papa encontra os bispos do Equador no Centro de Congressos do Parque Bicentenário. (11:00 horário de Brasília) - 10:30 - Santa Missa no Parque Bicentenário. Homilia do Papa. (12:30 horário de Brasília) - 16:30 - Encontro com o mundo da escola e da univers... 12 hours 58 min
O Santo Padre Francisco concluiu o segundo dia de sua viagem apostólica à América Latina na segunda-feira por volta das 20:30. Depois de um intenso programa que incluiu uma visita à cidade de Guayaquil, de volta para Quito, o Papa visitou o presidente Rafael Correa, no palácio presidencial e concluiu o dia na Cated... 13 hours 12 min
Na segunda de manhã, o Papa Francisco foi para Guayaquil, a maior cidade do Equador, localizada na costa do Pacífico. Depois de celebrar a Missa no Parque Los Samanes, o Papa almoçou no Colégio Javier, dos Jesuítas, onde foi recebido pelo amigo Padre Paquito, um sacerdote espanhol de 91 anos, que o atual pontífice ... 13 hours 27 min
Vatican City, 7 July 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday more than a million people attended the Pope's first Mass in Ecuador, in Guayaquil. He first visited the Shrine of Divine Mercy, the city's second largest place of worship, built at the behest of Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza between 2009 and 2014 and able to hold 2,300 people. Upon arrival at the Shrine, the Holy Father was welcomed by an immense crowd, with whom he prayed a Hail Mary before leaving the temple, and whom he greeted with the following words: “Now I will celebrate Mass, and I hold you all in my heart. I will ask for each one of you, I will say to the Lord, 'You know the names of those who were there'. I will ask Jesus for great mercy for every one of you; I will ask Him to care for you and to cover you with His mercy. May Our Lady always be by your side”. “And now, before I leave – because I am on my way to Mass, and the archbishop tells me we are running out of time – I give you my blessing … I am not asking you to give me anything! But I ask you, please, to pray for me. Will you promise me? May God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless you. Thank you for your Christian witness”. The Pope then travelled the 25 kilometres that separate the Shrine from Samanes Park, where he celebrated Holy Mass specially dedicated to families. The Gospel reading recounted the wedding at Cana, and in his homily the Pope focused on Mary who expresses to Jesus her concern as the newly-weds have no wine. “The wedding at Cana is repeated in every generation, in every family, in every one of us and our efforts to let our hearts find rest in strong love, fruitful love and joyful love. Let us make room for Mary, 'the Mother' as the evangelist calls her. Let us journey with her now to Cana. “Mary is attentive, she is attentive in the course of this wedding feast, she is concerned for the needs of the newly-weds. She is not closed in on herself, worried only about her little world. Her love makes her 'outgoing' towards others. She does not seek her friends to say what is happening, to criticise the poor organisation of the wedding feast. And since she is attentive, she discretely notices that the wine has run out. Wine is a sign of happiness, love and plenty. How many of our adolescents and young people sense that these is no longer any of that wine to be found in their homes? How many women, sad and lonely, wonder when love left, when it slipped away from their lives? How many elderly people feel left out of family celebrations, cast aside and longing each day for a little love, from their sons and daughters, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren? This lack of this 'wine' can also be due to unemployment, illness and difficult situations which our families around the world may experience. Mary is not a 'demanding' mother, nor a mother-in-law who revels in our lack of experience, our mistakes and the things we forget to do. Mary, quite simply, is a Mother! She is there, attentive and concerned. It is gratifying to hear this: Mary is a Mother! I invite you to repeat this with me: Mary is a Mother! Once again: Mary is a Mother! And once more: Mary is a Mother! “But Mary, at the very moment she perceives that there is no wine, approaches Jesus with confidence: this means that Mary prays. She goes to Jesus, she prays. She does not go to the steward, she immediately tells her Son of the newly-weds' problem. The response she receives seems disheartening: 'What does it have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come'. But she nonetheless places the problem in God’s hands. Her deep concern to meet the needs of others hastens Jesus’ hour. And Mary was a part of that hour, from the cradle to the cross. She was able 'to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love'. She accepted us as her sons and daughters when the sword pierced her son’s heart. She teaches us to put our families in God’s hands; she teaches us to pray, to kindle the hope which shows us that our concerns are also God’s concerns. “Praying always lifts us out of our worries and concerns. It makes us rise above everything that hurts, upsets or disappoints us, and helps to put ourselves in the place of others, in their shoes. The family is a school where prayer also reminds us that we are not isolated individuals; we are one and we have a neighbour close at hand: he or she is living under the same roof, is a part of our life, and is in need. “And finally, Mary acts. Her words, 'Do whatever he tells you', addressed to the attendants, are also an invitation to us to open our hearts to Jesus, who came to serve and not to be served. Service is the sign of true love. Those who love know how to serve others. We learn this especially in the family, where we become servants out of love for one another. In the heart of the family, no one is rejected; all have the same value. I remember once how my mother was asked which of her five children – we are five brothers – did she love the most. And she said: it is like the fingers on my hand, if I prick one of them, then it is as if the others are pricked also. A mother loves her children as they are. And in the family, children are loved as they are. None are rejected. 'In the family we learn how to ask without demanding, to say “thank you” as an expression of genuine gratitude for what we have been given, to control our aggressivity and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm, when we quarrel, because in all families there are quarrels. The challenge is to then ask for forgiveness. These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings'. The family is the nearest hospital; when a family member is ill, it is in the home that they are cared for as long as possible. The family is the first school for the young, the best home for the elderly. The family constitutes the best 'social capital'. It cannot be replaced by other institutions. It needs to be helped and strengthened, lest we lose our proper sense of the services which society as a whole provides. Those services which society offers to its citizens are not a type of alms, but rather a genuine 'social debt' with respect to the institution of the family, which is foundational and which contributes to the common good. “The family is also a small Church, called a 'domestic Church' which, along with life, also mediates God’s tenderness and mercy. In the family, we imbibe faith with our mother’s milk. When we experience the love of our parents, we feel the closeness of God’s love. “In the family, and we are all witnesses of this, miracles are performed with what little we have, with what we are, with what is at hand… and many times, it is not ideal, it is not what we dreamt of, nor what 'should have been'. There is one detail that makes us think: the new wine, that good wine mentioned by the steward at the wedding feast of Cana, came from the water jars, the jars used for ablutions, we might even say from the place where everyone had left their sins … it came from the 'worst' because 'where sin increased, grace abounded all the more'. In our own families and in the greater family to which we all belong, nothing is thrown away, nothing is useless. Shortly before the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Church will celebrate the Ordinary Synod devoted to the family, deepen her spiritual discernment and consider concrete solutions and help to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families today. I ask you to pray fervently for this intention, so that Christ can take even what might seem to us impure, like the water in the jars scandalising or threatening us, and turn it – by making it part of his 'hour' – into a miracle. The family today needs this miracle. “All this began because 'they had no wine'. It could all be done because a woman – the Virgin Mary – was attentive, left her concerns in God’s hands and acted sensibly and courageously. But there is a further detail, the best was to come: everyone went on to enjoy the finest of wines. And this is the good news: the finest wines are yet to be tasted; for families, the richest, deepest and most beautiful things are yet to come. The time is coming when we will taste love daily, when our children will come to appreciate the home we share, and our elderly will be present each day in the joys of life. The finest of wines is expressed by hope, this wine will come for every person who stakes everything on love. And the best wine is yet to come, in spite of all the variables and statistics which say otherwise. The best wine will come to those who today feel hopelessly lost. Say it to yourselves until you are convinced of it. Say it to yourselves, in your hearts: the best wine is yet to come. Whisper it to the hopeless and the loveless. Have patience, hope, and follow Mary’s example, pray, open your heart, because the best wine is yet to come. God always seeks out the peripheries, those who have run out of wine, those who drink only of discouragement. Jesus feels their weakness, in order to pour out the best wines for those who, for whatever reason, feel that all their jars have been broken”. After his final blessing, the Pope transferred by car to the Colegio Javier of the Society of Jesus, founded in 1856, and where there are currently 1560 students. The community is made up of 20 Jesuit fathers, with whom the Pope lunched. Following a brief rest he returned to Quito to meet with the president of the Republic.... 13 hours 46 min
Vatican City, 7 July 2015 (VIS) – The Pope spent the last part of his second day in Ecuador in the capital, Quito, where he paid a courtesy visit to President Rafael Correa at Carondelet Palace, the seat of the government. Built in the late eighteenth century by the Spanish architect Antonio Garcia, it is located in the historic centre of the city and owes its name to the governor Francisco Luis Hector, baron of Carondelet, under whose mandate it was constructed. During the colonial period it was known as the Royal Palace, but according to legend Simon Bolivar, in admiration of its facade, changed its name in memory of the governor. Upon arrival President Correa greeted the Pope with a warm embrace; they then entered the Protocol Room where they spoke in private. The president subsequently introduced his family to the Holy Father and gifts were exchanged. Francis gave the Ecuadorian head of State a mosaic depicting the Virgin and Child, a copy realised by the Vatican Museums mosaic laboratory of the image from the Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Roman basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, before which St. Ignatius of Loyola and his first followers gave their religious vows on 22 August 1541, thereby originating the Society of Jesus. At the end of his visit, the bishop of Rome and the president appeared at the balcony of Carondelet Palace to greet the crowd gathered in Plaza de la Independencia. The Pope travelled on foot the fifty metres between the Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito, which invokes the Coronation of the Virgin Mary. The Cathedral, completed in 1585, represents a combination of styles, from the Gothic-Mudejar (Moorish) to Baroque and neo-Classical, and it houses the remains of Antonio Jose Francisco de Sucre y Alcala, the Mariscal Sucre (1795-1830), hero of South American independence. The Holy Father entered the cathedral where he was received by the rector; after greeting various sick and disabled people gathered inside, he prayed a moment. Upon leaving, almost at night-time, he blessed the thousands of people congregated in the square, setting aside the brief discourse he had previously prepared, and addressed the following words to them: “I give you my blessing, to each one of you, to your families, to all your loved ones and to the great and noble Ecuadorian people, so that there may be no more difference, no more exclusion, so that no-one is discarded, so that all may be brothers, so that everyone is included and no-one is left out of this great Ecuadorian nation. To every one of you and your families, I give my blessing. But first, let us pray the Hail Mary together...”. “May the blessing of God Almighty, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, descend upon you and remain with you for ever. And please, I ask you to pray for me. Good night, and see you tomorrow”. Today, 7 July, Pope Francis will meet the bishops of Ecuador and will celebrate Holy Mass in the Bicentenario Park in Quito. Later he will visit the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, where he will receive the keys to the capital in the Church of St. Francis and address those present. He will conclude the day with a private visit to the Church of the Society of Jesus. The following is the brief discourse the Pope had prepared, to be given outside Quito Cathedral: “I have come to Quito as a pilgrim, to share with you the joy of spreading the Gospel. When I left the Vatican, I passed the statue of Saint Mariana de Jesus, who from the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica keeps watch over the little street which the Pope travels so often. I entrusted to her the fruits of this visit, and I prayed that all of us might learn from her example. Her sacrifice and her heroic virtue are usually represented by a flower, a lily. Yet, at St. Peter’s she holds a whole bouquet of flowers. Along with her own flower, she offers the Lord, in the heart of the Church, your flowers, and the flowers of all the people of Ecuador. “The Saints call us to imitate them and to learn from them. This was the case with St. Narcisa de Jesus and Blessed Mercedes de Jesus Molina, who were challenged by St. Mariana’s example. How many of you here today have known what it is to be orphaned? How many of you have had to assume the responsibility of looking after younger brothers or sisters, despite being young yourselves? How many of you care daily with great patience for the sick or the elderly? Mariana did just this, and Narcisa and Mercedes followed her example. It is not difficult if God is with us. They accomplished no great feats in the eyes of the world. They simply loved much, and they showed this love in their daily lives, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others, in his people. Nor did they do this alone, they did it 'side by side' with others. All the work that went into the building of this Cathedral was done that same way, our way, the way of the native peoples, quietly and unassumingly working alongside one another for the good of the community, without seeking credit or applause. God grant that, just as the stones of this cathedral were carried by those who went before us, we may carry one another’s burdens, and thus help to build up or heal the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters incapable of doing it by themselves. “Today I am here with you, and you have shared with me the joy which fills your hearts: 'How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings'. This is the beauty we are called to spread, like an aroma of Christ: our prayer, our good works, and our sacrifices for those most in need. This is the joy of evangelising and 'blessed are you if you do these things'. “God bless you all”. ... 13 hours 47 min
Vilibaldo nasceu na cidade de Wessel, Inglaterra no dia 22 de outubro de 700. Filho do rei Ricardo I, descendia de família real a qual gerou ainda outros dois santos: seus irmãos Vunibaldo e Valburga. Desde a infância, Vilibaldo recebeu sólida educação pedagógica e espiritual dos monges beneditinos da Abadia de ... 14 hours 31 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis visited the metropolitan cathedral of Quito, Ecuador, on Monday, the second day of his Apostolic Voyage to Latin America. The visit to the cathedral followed a courtesy call on the President of the Republic of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, and included some remarks to the faithful, a small number of whom were gathered inside the church proper, and a great throng of whom were gathered outside in the cathedral square. Click below to hear our report The cathedral itself is a remarkable structure: originally constructed of adobe and thatch, it was rebuilt beginning in the middle of the 16th century in order to fill its new role as the central place of worship and seat of the bishop of the new diocese. Using stone carried from Mount Pichincha, in the shadow of which stands the city of Quito, the cathedral was built over three years, starting in 1562, and was finally consecrated in 1572. Earthquakes have several times caused major damage, after which major repair and renovation projects have followed, with the present visible structure being primarily work completed in the latter half of the 18th century. Emerging from the cathedral after a moment of prayerful recollection before a statue of Our Lady holding the infant Jesus, and another of silent adoration before Our Eucharistic Lord in the Tabernacle, Pope Francis greeted the crowd in the square and offered his blessing. “I'm going to give the blessing,” he said, “I'll give the blessing to each of you, for your families, for all loved ones and for this great nation and noble Ecuadorean people, that there be no difference, no exclusion, no people discarded, that all might be brothers and sisters, a blessing that goes to everyone and that there be none left out of this great Ecuadorian nation. To each of you, your families, goes the blessing, but first let us pray together a Hail Mary.” And the people prayed the great prayer of Marian devotion, and Pope Francis blessed them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and then he asked the people to pray for him, and he bade them good evening, and took his leave. (from Vatican Radio)... 22 hours 10 min
(Vatican Radio) In his first homily during his Apostolic Voyage to South America, Pope Francis focused on Mary as a model for families as he spoke about the Gospel account of the wedding at Cana. More than one million people joined the Holy Father for Holy Mass in the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador. Listen to Christopher Wells' report:  Christ’s miracle at Cana – turning water into wine – was made possible, the Pope said, precisely because the Blessed Virgin Mary “was attentive, left her concerns in God’s hands, and acted sensibly and courageously.” Pope Francis said Mary was concerned for the needs of the newlyweds, attentive to others, and not closed in on herself. There are many circumstances today, he continued, when we can see that the “wine” – a sign of “happiness, love, and plenty” – has run out: “How many of our adolescents and young people sense that these are no longer found in their homes?” the Pope asked. “How many women, sad and lonely, wonder when love left, when it slipped away from their lives? How many elderly people feel left out of family celebrations, cast aside and longing each day for a little love?” Mary responds to the lack of wine by approaching Jesus with confidence, by praying. Pope Francis said, “She teaches us to put our families in God’s hands, to pray, to kindle the hope which shows us that our concerns are also God’s concerns.” Prayer, he continued, “always lifts us out of our worries and concerns.” Finally, the Holy Father said, Mary acts. Her words to the wedding attendants – “Do whatever He tells you” – are also “an invitation to us to open our hearts to Jesus, who came to serve and not to be served.” Pope Francis said we learn this especially within the family, where we learn to be servants of one another, and where no one is rejected. The family “constitutes the best social capital” and “cannot be replaced by other institutions.” Pope Francis strongly urged people to defend the family, saying it must be “helped and strengthened.” The family, he said, is also “a small Church, a ‘domestic Church’ which, along with life, also mediates God’s tenderness and mercy.” Although our families are sometimes not what we expect them to be, are not the ‘ideal’ we picture for ourselves, nonetheless, every day within the family “miracles are performed” with the little we have. “In our own families and in the greater family to which we all belong, nothing is thrown away, nothing is useless.” Pope Francis asked for prayers for the Synod on the Family, “so that Christ can take even what might seem to us impure, scandalous, or threatening, and turn it… into a miracle.” The Holy Father concluded his homily by pointing to the fact that, at the wedding of Cana, the best was yet to come: “for families, the richest, the deepest, and most beautiful things are yet to come.” God, he said, “always seek out the peripheries, those who have run out of wine, those who drink only of discouragement.  Jesus feels their weakness, in order to pour out the best wines for those who, for whatever reason, feel that all their jars have been broken.” (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 4 hours
O comitê civil italiano “Defendamos Nossos Filhos”, nascido especificamente para realizar as históricas manifestações pró-família do dia 20 de junho em Roma, tornou-se um órgão permanente. Seu objetivo é "manter a atenção pública focada na educação das crianças e na defesa dos seus direitos, em primeiro lugar o ... 1 day 5 hours
Os cristãos do Oriente Médio não fugirão da sua terra, que é a terra onde Jesus nasceu, se tiverem o dom de ver mantida a própria fé como experiência do amor de Cristo, declarou o patriarca maronita Bechara Boutros Rai, durante a missa celebrada neste domingo com os jovens participantes do primeiro Fórum Global da ... 1 day 6 hours
Nunca uma encíclica teve o impacto e a relevância da Laudato Si', do papa Francisco. Esta é a primeira encíclica em que se encaram de maneira abrangente os problemas ambientais. Há pelo menos 20 anos, perguntava-se dentro da Igreja como explicar a ecologia humana em todas as suas formas e, mesmo antes da publicação... 1 day 6 hours
"Eu gostaria que você fosse o meu pai para sempre, porque o meu pai e minha mãe estão na prisão, te amo...”. Este é o pedido ao Papa Francisco de Kiara, uma menina de 9 anos que mora no Banhado Sul, região situada às margens do rio Paraguai, e que está muito perto do aterro de lixo Cateura de Assunção. Em uma ca... 1 day 6 hours
(Vatican Radio) The family is a ‘domestic Church’ where we learn to love and serve others, to show gratitude not greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm. That was the theme Pope Francis’ homily at Mass in Ecuador’s main commercial city of Guayaquil, located on the Pacific coast of the South American nation. The Pope travelled to the port city from the capital Quito to celebrate an open air Mass on Monday, the first full day of his pastoral visit to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel passage of the wedding in Cana, where Mary shows herself concerned for the needs of others and tells her son Jesus that the wine has run out. Wine is a sign of “happiness, love and plenty”, the Pope said, noting that many young, old and lonely people sense that “these are no longer found in their homes”. The Pope urged his listeners to open their hearts, like Mary, to hear the words of Jesus who came to serve, especially those on the peripheries, the hopeless and the loveless. “Say it until you are convinced of it”, he said, “the best wine is yet to come”. Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ prepared homily for Mass in Quayaquil Homily at the Mass for Families Samanes Park, Guayaquil, Monday, 6 July 2015             The Gospel passage which we have just heard is the first momentous sign in the Gospel according to John.  Mary’s maternal concern is seen in her plea to Jesus: “They have no wine”, and Jesus’ reference to “his hour” will be more fully understood later, in the story of his Passion.             This is good, because it allows us to see Jesus’ eagerness to teach, to accompany, to heal and to give joy, thanks to the words of his Mother: “They have no wine”.             The wedding at Cana is repeated in every generation, in every family, in every one of us and our efforts to let our hearts find rest in strong, fruitful and joyful love.  Let us make room for Mary, “the Mother” as the evangelist calls her.  Let us journey with her to Cana.             Mary is attentive in the course of this wedding feast, she is concerned for the needs of the newlyweds.  She is not closed in on herself, worried only about her little world.  Her love makes her “outgoing” towards others.  So she notices that the wine has run out.  Wine is a sign of happiness, love and plenty.  How many of our adulescents and young people sense that these are no longer found in their homes?   How many women, sad and lonely, wonder when love left, when it slipped away from their lives?  How many elderly people feel left out of family celebrations, cast aside and longing each day for a little love?  This lack of “wine” can also be due to unemployment, illness and difficult situations which our families may experience.  Mary is not a “demanding” mother, a mother-in-law who revels in our lack of experience, our mistakes and the things we forget to do.  Mary is a Mother!  She is there, attentive and concerned.              But Mary approaches Jesus with confidence, Mary prays.  She does not go to the steward, she immediately tells her Son of the newlyweds’ problem.  The response she receives seems disheartening: “What does it have to do with you and me?  My hour has not yet come” (v. 4).  But she nonetheless places the problem in God’s hands.  Her concern to meet the needs of others hastens Jesus’ hour.  Mary was a part of that hour, from the cradle to the cross.  She was able “to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love” (Evangelii Gaudium, 286).  She accepted us as her sons and daughters when the sword pierced her heart.  She teaches us to put our families in God’s hands, to pray, to kindle the hope which shows us that our concerns are also God’s concerns.             Praying always lifts us out of our worries and concerns.  It makes us rise above everything that hurts, upsets or disappoints us, and it puts us in the place of others, in their shoes.  The family is a school where prayer also reminds us that we are not isolated individuals; we are one and we have a neighbour close at hand: he or she is living under the same roof, is a part of our life, and is in need.             Mary finally acts.  Her words, “Do whatever he tells you” (v. 5), addressed to the attendants, are also an invitation to us to open our hearts to Jesus, who came to serve and not to be served.  Service is the sign of true love.  We learn this especially in the family, where we become servants out of love for one another.  In the heart of the family, no one is rejected.  “In the family we learn how to ask without demanding, to say ‘thank you’ as an expression of genuine gratitude for what we have been given, to control our aggressivity and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm.  These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings” (Laudato Si’, 213).  The family is the nearest hospital, the first school for the young, the best home for the elderly.  The family constitutes the best “social capital”.  It cannot be replaced by other institutions.  It needs to be helped and strengthened, lest we lose our proper sense of the services which society as a whole provides.  Those services are not a type of alms, but rather a genuine “social debt” with respect to the institution of the family, which contributes so greatly to the common good.             The family is also a small Church, a “domestic Church” which, along with life, also mediates God’s tenderness and mercy.  In the family, we imbibe faith with our mother’s milk.  When we experience the love of our parents, we feel the closeness of God’s love.             In the family, miracles are performed with what little we have, with what we are, with what is at hand… many times, it is not ideal, it is not what we dreamt of, nor what “should have been”.  The new wine of the wedding feast of Cana came from the water jars, the jars used for ablutions, we might even say from the place where everyone had left their sins… “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20).  In our own families and in the greater family to which we all belong, nothing is thrown away, nothing is useless.  Shortly before the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Church will celebrate the Ordinary Synod devoted to the family, deepen her spiritual discernment and consider concrete solutions to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families in our time.  I ask you to pray fervently for this intention, so that Christ can take even what might seem to us impure, scandalous or threatening, and turn it – by making it part of his “hour” – into a miracle.              It all began because “they had no wine”.  It could all be done because a woman – the Virgin Mary – was attentive, left her concerns in God’s hands and acted sensibly and courageously.  But there was more to come: everyone went on to enjoy the finest of wines.  And this is the good news: the finest wines are yet to be tasted; for families, the richest, deepest and most beautiful things are yet to come.  The time is coming when we will taste love daily, when our children will come to appreciate the home we share, and our elderly will be present each day in the joys of life.  The finest of wines will come for every person who stakes everything on love.  And it will come in spite of all the variables and statistics which say otherwise; the best wine is yet to come for those who today feel hopelessly lost.  Say it until you are convinced of it: the best wine is yet to come.  Whisper it to the hopeless and the loveless.  God always seek out the peripheries, those who have run out of wine, those who drink only of discouragement.  Jesus feels their weakness, in order to pour out the best wines for those who, for whatever reason, feel that all their jars have been broken.             As Mary bids us, let us “do what he tells us” and be thankful that in this, our time and our hour, the new wine, the finest wine, will make us recover the joy of being a family. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 6 hours
Na tarde desta segunda-feira, o Santo Padre Francisco, diante de uma grande multidão, presidiu a celebração eucarística, no Parque Los Samanes em Guayaquil, terceira etapa da sua viagem ao Equador. Durante a homilia a sua reflexão girou em torno ao evangelho das bodas de caná. Esse momento – disse o papa – “perm... 1 day 7 hours
A passagem do Evangelho que acabámos de ouvir é o primeiro sinal portentoso que se realiza segundo a narrativa do Evangelho de João. A preocupação de Maria, transformada em súplica a Jesus: «Não têm vinho!» e a referência à «hora» compreender-se-ão nos relatos da Paixão. É bom que assim seja, porque permite-nos ... 1 day 8 hours
Pope Francis arrived in Ecuador's capital Quito  on Sunday 5th of July. It marked a homecoming for this Argentinian Pontiff who’s currently on the first leg of an Apostolic Journey to Latin America which also takes him to two other nations Bolivia and Paraguay. On his first full day in Ecuador Pope Francis flew to Guayaquil, the nation’s major port city with stunning views over the Pacific Ocean. The city  lies roughly 265 kilometres from Quito. Veronica Scarisbrick reports :  It was to the cries of welcome 'Francisco, Francisco' that upon his arrival in Guayaquil a beaming Pope Francis stopped by at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy.The atmosphere was warm and  joyful and there was singing. And there were dancers in the local blue and white traditional costumes at this modern designer building which can hold up to 2.300 faithful and has in its grounds, lodging facilities for priests, an old age home and areas dedicated to recreation, catechesis and evangelisation. And of course there was prayer... Guayaquil has an overwhelming Catholic population and takes its name from the Indios chief “Guayas” and his wife” Quil”. Legendary heroes who may have led the indigenous resistance from the Spanish 'Conquistadores' but whose descendants have nevertheless kept the faith implanted there by the Spaniards. Fitting then that the Holy Mass which will be presided over by Pope Francis shortly  after the visit to the National Shrine, in this city which takes its name from a couple, should be dedicated to the family. And families were numerous among the thousands who filled up the venue for the mass, already up to eight hours before the celebration. A mass scheduled at a park by the name of ‘Los Samanes de Guayaquil’. Fitting too that this Pope who belongs to the Society of Jesus plans to fleetingly visit the Jesuit College there following Holy Mass. Let's recall for a moment the special evangelising mission the  Jesuits have played throughout Latin America and their role in helping the indigenous people to safeguard their rights and culture in the face of the Spanish oppressor of the time. But the pope’s first full day in Ecuador doesn’t end here. He returns to Quito in time for tea, ‘mate’ the local drink perhaps is a better word, for another two major appointments: a courtesy visit to the nation’s President Mr Rafael Correa, and  a visit to the City’s Cathedral where he’ll address the faithful gathered in the Square outside. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 8 hours
A perda dos critérios para pensar é a coisa mais grave que está acontecendo na nossa contemporaneidade. A falta de critérios paralisa, impede o pensamento, impossibilita a educação, impossibilita a própria convivência democrática. A falta de critérios para pensar é própria para as ditaduras, os governos totalitário... 1 day 8 hours
Continua a vista do Papa Francisco ao Equador, primeira etapa da impressionante viagem à América Latina. Ontem a chegada a Quito, a cerimônia no aeroporto com o presidente Correa e a enorme multidão nos 40 kms percorridos em um carro coberto e os últimos 8 acima de um jipe ​​descoberto. Hoje, o Papa, nas primeir... 1 day 9 hours
"Bem-vindo, Papa Francisco, à nossa América, à sua América, este tesouro da Pátria Grande, chamado Equador, que o recebe com os corações de todos os equatorianos transbordando de alegria e esperança”. Esta foi a saudação inicial do presidente Rafael Correa na chegada do pontífice ao Equador. Em seu discurso de b... 1 day 9 hours
(Vatican Radio) As Pope Francis’ apostolic journey to Latin America begins to unfold, the week-long programme that takes the Pope from Ecuador to Bolivia to Paraguay will offer countless occasions for information, reflection, inspiration. Meanwhile we look ahead, speaking to people on the ground and to others who have been to the places the Pope is scheduled to visit. Like Monsignor Peter Fleetwood, a priest from the Liverpool Archdiocese who has travelled extensively in Latin America and who says the Pope’s respect and regard for the poor and the marginalized and his desire to be with “real people” is an enormously important aspect of his message and his pontificate as well as being a central theme of this journey … Listen :  Remembering his own journey to Paraguay in the 1990s, Monsignor Fleetwood recounts a series of experiences in a nation that he describes as having a “popular, or democratic culture”. “They’re not very impressed by people waving money around: they just like ordinariness, being down to earth – I think that’s a lot of what Pope Francis likes to bring with him as a Latin American to wherever he goes” he says. Commenting on the fact that the Pope has chosen to travel to Latin America starting with the “peripheries” (as the three nations he is visiting are amongst the poorest), Monsignor Fleetwood points out that “where he goes, people who have previously felt ‘nobody in his position has ever spoken to me before’, suddenly think: ‘I matter to that man, my family matters, my country matters’”. Although these people may feel they are not very significant in the global picture, Mons. Fleetwood says,  the Pope makes them feel they do matter because they are children of God. He is saying to the people who await him: “You are never forgotten, you are always remembered, you may not see your name in lights when it comes to the rich countries of the world, but as far as the Pope’s concerned: you are there and you are in my prayers.”  “It means a lot if you are living far from the so-called center of things if the man in charge turns left on the way into town and goes to a little shanty town and says he wants to meet the real people – good for him!” Mons. Fleetwood says.     (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 12 hours
It was a multitude, certainly several hundred thousand people at least, lining the streets of Quito to cheer their welcome, amid a shower of flower petals, to Pope Francis on his return to Latin America. This trip, which after WYD in Rio de Janeiro — an appointment which had been fixed by his predecessor — is Bergoglio’s first choice in America, where he will visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. Immediately upon arriving, after a long flight, the Pope was welcomed at the airport by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa with a moving speech where he calls their guest a “moral giant” for the international scene and expressed several points in which their concerns converged. The Pope then added emphasis to that “consonance”, who presented himself as a witness of God’s mercy and of faith in Jesus Christ. In the Gospel — Bergoglio said — one can find the key to meeting contemporary challenges: respecting differences and fostering dialogue. With particular concern for the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters, to fragile minorities, who are the “debt still outstanding in Latin America”, he added. And in these efforts, he said addressing the President, “you can always count on the commitment and cooperation of the Church to serve the Ecuadorian people who move forward with great dignity”. In the Andes which span the country peak of Chimborazo, geographically located “closest to the sun” and the moon, the Pope recalled. And as his predecessor had done before him, Pope Francis observed: “We Christians identify Christ with the sun, and the moon with the Church”. As the moon does not have its own light but is illuminated by the by the Sun, so is the Church by Christ. And if she moves away or hides from Him, “she will be in darkness and no longer able to offer witness”, he warned. Thus, in order to be a reflection of the light and love of the Lord, the Pope concluded, the people of Ecuador must “never lose the ability to thank God for what he has done and is doing”. He continued: “May you never lose the ability to protect what is small and simple, to care for your children and for your elderly, who are the living memory of your people, to have confidence in the young, and to be constantly struck by the nobility of your people and the singular beauty of your country”, which, “according to the president, is nothing short of paradise”. This last line, he added, alluding to the need to protect it. G.M.V.... 1 day 12 hours
O Papa Francisco está hospedado na Nunciatura, onde chegou nesta segunda-feira à tarde após o desembarque em Quito. 8:45 - O Santo Padre vai para o aeroporto de Quito, Mariscal Sucre, para viajar para Guayaquil, a 246 km, cerca de 45 minutos de voo. 9:50 – Chegada no aeroporto internacional José de Olmedo, em... 1 day 12 hours
“Santa Maria Goretti é um exemplo para as novas ameaçadas por uma mentalidade de descompromisso, que não consegue compreender a importância dos valores sobre os quais não se deve jamais, descer a compromissos, ou seja, baratear” dizia o Papa João Paulo II sobre Maria Teresa Goretti, terceira dos seis filhos do casa... 1 day 13 hours
The keys to confronting “contemporary challenges and to building “a better future for everyone” are in the Gospel. This was Pope Francis' message on his arrival in Ecuador, the first leg of this visit in Latin America which will be followed by Bolivia and Paraguay. In his address at the welcome ceremony at the Quito Airport — where the papal flight arrived on Sunday afternoon, 5 July, at 10 pm Italy time — the Pontiff assured President Correa of the Church's cooperation in building a society based on respecting differences, on dialogue and participation in the life of the country with particular attention to the poor and marginalized minorities. Then Francis launched an appeal to protect what is small and simple, to care for the children and the elderly, calling also a better tomorrow for young people and for the protection of the country's natural beauty. From his first moments in Ecuador, the Pope experienced the overwhelming enthusiasm of the people who were lined along the streets that led from the airport to the Apostolic Nunciature in Quito — the residence where Francis spent the rest of the day. The people of Ecuador are preparing to participate in the Mass on Monday morning in the De Los Samanes Park in Guayaquil. After lunch in the community of the Jesuit College, the Pope will return to the capital to meet the President and visit the city's cathedral. The Pope's address ... 1 day 13 hours
Durante o voo de 13 horas da Itália ao Equador, o Papa Francisco reservou alguns minutos para saudar os 75 jornalistas de várias nacionalidades que estavam a bordo. O Papa foi introduzido pelo Padre Federico Lombardi, diretor da Sala de Imprensa da Santa Sé, que disse: "Aqui estamos Santo Padre. Novamente no ar com... 1 day 13 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made a surprise appearance outside the Quito residence of the Apostolic Nuncio, who is hosting the Holy Father during his visit to Ecuador. Listen:  He greeted the large, and very loud crowd, who were singing to welcome the Pope to the country, as well as shouting for him to come out and greet them. Pope Francis acquiesced to the request, leading the crowd in a prayer, and then telling them to go to bed, so “the neighborhood can sleep.” (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 13 hours
Apresentamos o discurso do Santo Padre proferido no Aeroporto Internacional “Mariscal Sucre” de Quito, durante a cerimônia de boas vindas ao Equador, neste domingo, 05 de julho. Senhor Presidente, Ilustres Autoridades do governo, Irmãos no Episcopado, Senhoras e senhores, amigos todos! Dou graças a D... 1 day 14 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis did not give a press conference during his 13-hour flight to South America,  but did take the time to greet each of the 75 journalists travelling with the papal entourage, chatting and accepting the occasional gift. He was especially pleased to receive from a Bolivian journalists a batch of drawings from children of that country. “I love children’s drawings,” Pope Francis said. In a brief address to the journalists, Pope Francis wished them a “pleasant journey,” and thanked for the work they do, calling being a reporter a “very demanding job.” (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 16 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent telegrams to the heads of state of the countries he overflew during his journey to Ecuador. We reproduce them below in their original languages.   The Departure from Italy   A SUA ECCELLENZA ON. SERGIO MATTARELLA PRESIDENTE  DELLA  REPUBBLICA ITALIANA PALAZZO  DEL  QUIRINALE                                00187   ROMA   NEL MOMENTO IN CUI LASCIO ROMA PER RECARMI IN ECUADOR, BOLIVIA E PARAGUAY, PER SOSTENERE LA MISSIONE DELLA CHIESA LOCALE E PORTARE UN MESSAGGIO DI SPERANZA, MI È CARO RIVOLGERE A LEI, SIGNOR PRESIDENTE, IL MIO DEFERENTE SALUTO, CHE ACCOMPAGNO CON FERVIDI AUSPICI PER IL BENESSERE SPIRITUALE, CIVILE E SOCIALE DEL POPOLO ITALIANO, CUI INVIO VOLENTIERI LA BENEDIZIONE APOSTOLICA.                                                                                                 FRANCISCUS PP.   Telegram for Spain   A SU MAJESTAD FELIPE VI REY DE ESPAÑA PALACIO DE LA ZARZUELA MADRID   AL SOBREVOLAR EL TERRITORIO ESPAÑOL PARA DAR COMIENZO A MI VISITA PASTORAL A ECUADOR, BOLIVIA Y PARAGUAY, ME ES GRATO ENVIAR UN CORDIAL SALUDO A VUESTRA MAJESTAD Y A LA REINA, Y RENOVAR MI AFECTO Y CERCANÍA AL  PUEBLO ESPAÑOL, PARA EL QUE PIDO AL SEÑOR COPIOSAS GRACIAS Y UN CRECIENTE PROGRESO ESPIRITUAL Y SOCIAL EN PACÍFICA CONVIVENCIA.   FRANCISCO   Telegram for Portugal   EXCELENTÍSSIMO SENHOR ANIBAL CAVACO SILVA PRESIDENTE DA REPUBLICA PORTUGUESA  LISBOA   AO SOBREVOAR PORTUGAL NUMA VISITA PASTORAL QUE ME LEVA AO EQUADOR, BOLÍVIA E PARAGUAI vg TENHO O PRAZER DE SAUDAR VOSSA EXCELÊNCIA FORMULANDO CORDIASI VOTOS PARA SUA PESSOA E INTEIRA NAÇÃO SOBRE A QUAL INVOCO BENEVOLÊNCIA DIVINA PARA QUE SEJA CONSOLIDADA NELA ESPERANÇA E ALEGRIA DE VIVER NA HARMONIA E BEM-ESTAR DE TODOS SEUS FILHOS FRANCISCO PP   Telegram for Venezuela   AL EXCMO. SR. NICOLÁS MADURO MOROS PRESIDENTE DE LA REPÚBLICA BOLIVARIANA DE VENEZUELA CARACAS   AL VOLAR SOBRE EL TERRITORIO VENEZOLANO PARA DAR INICIO A MI VISITA PASTORAL A ECUADOR, BOLIVIA Y PARAGUAY, ME ES GRATO ENVIAR UN CORDIAL SALUDO A VUESTRA EXCELENCIA, MANIFESTANDO MI AFECTO Y CERCANÍA POR EL PUEBLO VENEZOLANO, A LA VEZ QUE PIDO AL SEÑOR ABUNDANTES GRACIAS QUE LE AYUDEN A PROGRESAR CADA DÍA MÁS EN SOLIDARIDAD Y PACÍFICA CONVIVENCIA.   FRANCISCO   Telegram for Colombia   AL EXCMO. DR. JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CALDERÓN PRESIDENTE DE LA REPÚBLICA DE COLOMBIA BOGOTÁ D.C.   AL SOBREVOLAR EL TERRITORIO COLOMBIANO PARA DAR COMIENZO A MI VISITA PASTORAL A ECUADOR, BOLIVIA Y PARAGUAY, ME ES GRATO ENVIAR UN CORDIAL SALUDO A VUESTRA EXCELENCIA, REITERANDO MI CERCANÍA Y AFECTO POR EL PUEBLO COLOMBIANO, PARA EL QUE PIDO AL SEÑOR ABUNDANTES GRACIAS QUE LO HAGAN PROGRESAR EN LOS VALORES HUMANOS Y ESPIRITUALES QUE LE CARACTERIZAN, EN LA RECONCILIACION Y LA CONVIVENCIA PACIFICA, DESEANDOLE AL MISMO TIEMPO UNA CRECIENTE PROSPERIDAD.   FRANCISCO (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 16 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis arrived in Quito, Ecuador, on Sunday, at the start of a three-pronged tour of Latin America that will see him also in Bolivia and Paraguay. Below, please find the full text of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks at the welcome ceremony, in their official English translation. ************************************** Mr President, Distinguished Government Authorities, My Brother Bishops, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,  I thank God for having allowed me to return to Latin America and to be here with you today in this beautiful land of Ecuador.  I feel joy and gratitude as I see the warm welcome you have offered me. It is a sign of the hospitality which so well defines the people of this noble nation. I thank you, Mr President, for your kind words, and I express my cordial good wishes for the exercise of your office.  I greet the distinguished government authorities, my brother bishops, the faithful of the Church in this country, and all those who today have opened to me their hearts, their homes, their nation.  To all of you, I express my affection and sincere appreciation. I have visited Ecuador on a number of occasions for pastoral reasons.  Today too I have come as a witness of God’s mercy and of faith in Jesus Christ.  For centuries that faith has shaped the identity of this people and borne much good fruit, including the outstanding figures of Saint Mariana de Jesus, Saint Miguel Febres, Saint Narcisa de Jesús and Blessed Mercedes de Jesús Molina, beatified in Guayaquil thirty years ago, during the visit of Pope Saint John Paul II.  These, and others like them, lived their faith with intensity and enthusiasm, and by their works of mercy they contributed in a variety of ways to improving the Ecuadorian society of their day. In our own time too, we can find in the Gospel a key to meeting contemporary challenges, respecting differences, fostering dialogue and full participation, so that the growth in progress and development already registered will ensure a better future for everyone, with particular concern for the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.  In these efforts, Mr President, you can always count on the commitment and cooperation of the Church. Dear friends, I begin my visit filled with excitement and hope for the days ahead.  In Ecuador is the point closest to outer space: it is the peak of Chimborazo, which for that reason is called the place “closest to the sun”, the moon and the stars.  We Christians identify Christ with the sun, and the moon with the Church, the community of the faithful.  No one, save Jesus Christ, possesses his or her own light.  May the coming days make all of us ever more clearly aware of how close is the sun which “dawns upon us from on high”.  May each of us be a true reflection of his light and his love. From this place, I wish to embrace all of Ecuador.  From the peak of Chimborazo to the Pacific coast; from the Amazon rainforest to the Galapagos Islands, may you never lose the ability to thank God for what he has done and is doing for you.  May you never lose the ability to protect what is small and simple, to care for your children and your elderly, to have confidence in the young, and to be constantly struck by the nobility of your people and the singular beauty of your country. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to which Ecuador has been consecrated, grant you every grace and blessing. Thank you. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 3 hours
O Santo Padre Francisco partiu neste domingo às 9h (horário local) do Aeroporto Leonardo da Vinci, a poucos quilômetros de Roma, na cidade de Fiumicino, rumo a América Latina. É a nona viagem apostólica de Francisco, desta vez em sua amada América Latina. Estará no Equador, Bolívia e Paraguai, do 5 de julho até ... 2 days 10 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is en route to Ecuador, the first stage of a three-country tour in Latin America that will also see him in Bolivia and Paraguay – three “sister nations” as the Holy Father described them in the video message broadcast in the three countries simultaneously ahead of the visit. The Holy Father’s flight departed Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport (Fiumicino) shortly after 9:30 AM Rome Time on Sunday morning, and is scheduled to last 13 hours. Click below to hear our report Two years have passed since the Pope’s trip to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day in 2013. Now, Pope Francis returns to South America for his 9th international voyage. “I want to be a witness to the joy of the Gospel,” said the Holy Father ahead of his departure, expressing the desire to bring the tenderness of God to those most in need of it: children, the elderly, the sick, prisoners, the poor, indeed every victim of this “throw-away culture.” The itinerary includes more than 24 thousand kilometers of travel over the course of the week, along with radical changes in  altitude and temperature as well: in just seven days Pope Francis will experience temperatures ranging from 3°  to 40° Centigrade, and altitudes from sea level to over 4 thousand meters, as he travels from the Atlantic to the Andes and in between. Pope Francis is to spend 48 hours in each country, with each individual leg of the journey including events such as an audience with each President, a “sit-down” with the bishops, an encounter with civil society representatives, and a meeting with men and women religious. Each country also has scheduled special events and visits: to a home for the aged run by the Sisters of Mother Teresa in Ecuador; a prison (one of the largest in Latin America) and a meeting with members of the World Meeting of Popular Movements in Bolivia; a children’s hospital and a slum area in Paraguay. There is a Marian key to the voyage, as well: Pope Francis is to pray before the “Virgen Dolorosa” in Quito and before another major shrine to Our Lady 40 km from Asuncion. Underlying all, however, is the twofold theme of the joy of the Gospel, and reconciliation and renewal. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 11 hours

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Celebrating Mass in Quito, Ecuador, on July 7, for a congregation of over one million people, Pope Francis called for unity among the people of South America. In his homily the Pope ... 6 hours 26 min
An Iraqi Franciscan priest was seized by Islamic militants from his parish in the Syrian village of Yacoubieh on July 4, the Fides news service reports. Shortly after Father Dhiya ... 6 hours 44 min
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Attorneys general from 15 states urged Congress to protect the tax-exempt status of religious organizations opposed to same-sex marriage. "As the chief legal officers of our States, we ... 14 hours 53 min
For the second time in ten months, Cardinal Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro was the victim of an armed robbery. On July 5, carjackers entered his vehicle as he was being driven in ... 15 hours 29 min
In an interview with a Polish journalist, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church compared Pope St. John Paul II to a Moses whose words helped liberate the Church in ... 15 hours 43 min
Bishop Franghískos Papamanólis, president of the Greek bishops' conference, described Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as "incompetent" as the nation teetered on the brink of financial ... 15 hours 54 min
Three elderly nuns were assaulted at their parish convent in Matías Romero, a town of 40,000 in southern Mexico. The June 29 incident comes nine months after a similar attack on the ... 16 hours 17 min
The jihadist group Boko Haram unleashed a wave of violence in Nigeria in recent days, leaving over 60 dead, according to an Associated Press report. In Potiskum, a town in Yobe State in ... 16 hours 30 min
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has concluded its annual observance of the Fortnight for Freedom, which it instituted in 2012 to raise awareness of threats to religious ... 17 hours 9 min
L'Osservatore Romano has said that the Greek debt crisis should prompt reform of the European Union. "The Greek failure may be an opportunity to define a new concept of Europe," the ... 1 day 6 hours
During the first outdoor Mass of his week-long trip to South America, Pope Francis asked the faithful to pray for a miracle at the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, so that the ... 1 day 6 hours
Islamic militants are distributing leaflets in Jerusalem, ordering Christians to leave the city or face death. The leaflets say that any Christians who remain in Jerusalem at the end of ... 1 day 9 hours
A braille version of the encyclical Laudato Si', by Pope Francis, will soon be available in Italy. The braille version has been prepared by the San Giacamo Braille Center, in ... 1 day 10 hours
On the eve of his July 4 flight to Ecuador, to begin a week-long voyage to South America, Pope Francis visited the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major to pray, and left a bouquet before the ... 1 day 11 hours
Vandals struck a Catholic church in Providence, Rhode Island, on July 4, smashing the pulpit and defacing statues. The attack came as a shock to Father Joseph Escobar, who said that the ... 1 day 12 hours
The chairman of the theology department at Jesuit-run Fordham University has entered into a same-sex marriage. J. Patrick Hornbeck II and his partner, Patrick Anthony Bergquist, were ... 1 day 12 hours
Pope Francis made an unscheduled public appearance on Sunday evening, to greet a large crowd that had assembled to welcome him to Quito, Ecuador. After his trans-Atlantic flight, and a ... 1 day 12 hours
Upholding an earlier decision, Oregon's state labor commissioner has ruled that the owners of an Oregon bakery violated a non-discrimination law when one of its owners declined to bake a ... 1 day 14 hours
A federal district court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The ACLU filed the suit on behalf ... 1 day 14 hours
Pope Francis has begun a nine-day apostolic journey to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay, his ninth such journey outside Italy. Arriving in Quito, Ecuador's capital, on July 5, the Pontiff ... 1 day 15 hours
Pope Francis has named Bishop Jean Laffitte, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family since 2009, as the prelate of the Sovereign Order of Malta. Bishop Laffitte, 63, succeeds ... 1 day 15 hours
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI received an honorary doctorate on July 4 from the Pontifical John Paul II University of Krakow and the Krakow Academy of Music. The Pope Emeritus received the ... 1 day 16 hours
Pope Francis warned members of the Catholic charismatic renewal movement not to succumb to temptations to authoritarianism and called upon them to work for Christian unity and to introduce ... 1 day 16 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: Live Catholic Headlines
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Vatican City, Jul 7, 2015 / 11:48 am (EWTN News/CNA).- On the first full day of his apostolic journey to South America Pope Francis had already drawn more than 1 million people to his first public Mass in Guayaquil, the Vatican's spokesman estimates. 9 hours 36 min
Quito, Ecuador, Jul 7, 2015 / 11:29 am (EWTN News/CNA).- In his second homily while visiting Ecuador, Pope Francis spoke on Tuesday of the importance of fostering unity through evangelization, which he said is not done by preaching at people, but rather by being a joyful witness to the Gospel we have received. 9 hours 55 min
Latakia, Syria, Jul 7, 2015 / 07:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The organizations of Franciscan missionaries serving in the Holy Land have requested prayers for the safe return of Father Dhiya Aziz, who was abducted by militants in Syria on Saturday.
14 hours 22 min
Quito, Ecuador, Jul 7, 2015 / 06:59 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- In an address at the San Francisco church in Quito, Ecuador Pope Francis told political and social policy makers of the country to look to the family as their model for solidarity and subsidiarity. 14 hours 25 min
Quito, Ecuador, Jul 7, 2015 / 05:18 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis on Tuesday challenged Ecuador's educators to form their students to engage in modern-day issues with innovation and in solidarity with the poor. 16 hours 6 min
Vatican City, Jul 6, 2015 / 11:20 am (EWTN News/CNA).- On Wednesday Pope Francis will set foot on Bolivian soil, beginning a three-day visit to the country which one of its priests, who works in the Vatican, expects will strengthen the faith of its Catholics. 1 day 10 hours
Guayaquil, Ecuador, Jul 6, 2015 / 01:11 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- During a Mass said on Monday, the first full day of his visit to Ecuador, Pope Francis called for prayers that the upcoming Synod on the Family might discern the needs of the family, an institution irreplaceable to society.   1 day 20 hours
Lahore, Pakistan, Jul 6, 2015 / 01:01 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Police last week saved a Christian couple from a mob in Pakistan that attempted to kill them for allegedly committing blasphemy, the latest such violent incident in the country. 1 day 20 hours
Quito, Ecuador, Jul 5, 2015 / 06:05 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The world is about to see a new side to Pope Francis and, interestingly, it could be the most intimate look yet at who he really is.
2 days 15 hours
Quito, Ecuador, Jul 5, 2015 / 03:45 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Landing in Ecuador on Sunday afternoon, Pope Francis began his tri-nation visit to Latin America by stressing the Gospel's role in fostering respect, dialogue, and care for the vulnerable, while praising the nation's centuries-old Catholic heritage. 2 days 17 hours

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From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
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Luke Carey, Assistant Director of the Office of the New Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

Luke Carey, Assistant Director of the Office of the New Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

By John Stegeman
The Catholic Telegraph

Luke Carey, Assistant Director Office of the New Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati isn’t a convert.

For Carey, there was no moment when it all just clicked. There was no explosive experience wherein the faith of his childhood was confirmed. Instead, there were little assurances along the way and a constant commitment to follow Christ.

Read previous My Journey features
Saints were her gateway drug
— Husband can’t deny wife’s faith
— For Hartman, conversion has been a lifelong experience
— Evangelized by dead people
— Cursillo crucial to Bishop Binzer’s journey

Carey was born to Catholic parents and raised in a Catholic parish. He was part of a Catholic youth group and later attended the very Catholic Franciscan University of Steubenville. Jobs followed in Catholic education and Catholic youth ministry.

If you’re sensing a theme here, it’s that his life has always been steeped in the Catholic faith. Even so, his faith journey has had its ups and downs.

“I’ve been to Mass a million times,” he said. “I’ve done a million praise and worship things. I’ve done adoration and confession a million times… What does this look like? I never really had the profound moment where it all kind of clicked. I never had that feeling of consolation.

“To this day, what I’ve learned is the importance of commitment,” he added. “When you talk about faith and doubt, that dichotomy, an approach is obedience.”

In various moments of his life, through spiritual direction or just speaking with his parents or grandfather, Carey has sought an “end” to the journey, but now realizes faith is sometimes a process.

“I had to come to a point where I was OK knowing that for some odd reason in my life there was never going to be an “a ha!” moment,” he said. “You want the Star Wars thing where Luke shoots the rockets into the Death Star and it blows up. But that might not be how it is for you.”

When discussing his faith story, Carey spoke often of confession and the Eucharist. He also detailed the role of Christian music, peer ministry and a strong Catholic community. All of that added up to his eventual taking ownership of his belief in Christ.

“I’ve seen too much. I’ve been through too much. I’ve seen God work in my life,” he said. “I can’t deny this. I’m going to figure this out. Every day I just go into prayer with that and try to use those tools… Anytime I’ve gone to God he’s shown up.”

Now working with the New Evangelization, Carey works to help reach a culture that sometimes seems at odds with Catholicism.

“One of the things we try to stress to people is that its going to be incredibly messy, and that’s a good thing,” Carey said. “Pray everyday. Every single day. Five minutes. You have to make a commitment… I’ve been learning to just do it everyday. You have to be anchored and have strong roots. That means a personal relationship with Christ.”

In addition to looking inward, Carey said the New Evangelization means being tested, and developing friendships with those who don’t share our Catholic faith.

“If you don’t have friends you hang out with who don’t believe what you believe, something is wrong. Don’t have an agenda, just be their friend,” Carey said. “But also… Christ may have hung out with all of the sinners, but he lived with the apostles. Having community is really important too. You don’t want to be so safe that you’re not evangelizing the world, but you don’t want to be in the world so much that you don’t have a community.

“The world isn’t going to convert itself,” he added. “It is going to be through you being friends with other people… At some point in time something is going to happen where God is going to move your heart or theirs and those conversations are going to start to happen.”

This My Journey feature originally appeared in the June 2015 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph

 

12 hours 38 min
Pope Francis greets the crowd outside the cathedral in Quito, Ecuador, July 6. The pope is making an eight-day trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis greets the crowd outside the cathedral in Quito, Ecuador, July 6. The pope is making an eight-day trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service 

GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador — Even if a pastoral proposal for helping a Catholic family with problems seems scandalous at first, it is possible God could use that proposal to bring healing and holiness, Pope Francis said.

Encouraging and celebrating family life during a Mass July 6 in Guayaquil, Pope Francis asked people to pray for the October Synod of Bishops on the family, and he tied the synod to the Jubilee of Mercy, a yearlong celebration that will begin in December.

The synod will be a time for the church to “deepen her spiritual discernment and consider concrete solutions to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families in our time,” the pope said.

Celebrating Mass with as many as 1 million people gathered under the hot sun in Los Samanes Park, Pope Francis asked them “to pray fervently for this intention, so that Christ can take even what might seem to us impure, scandalous or threatening, and turn it — by making it part of his ‘hour’ — into a miracle. Families today need this miracle!”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Pope Francis was not referring to any specific proposal discussed in anticipation of the synod; one of the most common — and most debated pastoral suggestions — was to develop a process or “penitential path” for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion but have not received an annulment.

The pope, Father Lombardi said, hopes the synod “will find a way to help people move from a situation of sin to a situation of grace.”

Pope Francis acknowledged the suffering and hope of young people who do not experience happiness and love at home, the “many women, sad and lonely,” who wonder how their love “slipped away,” and the elderly who feel cast aside.

In a family, “no one is rejected; all have the same value,” he said, telling the crowd that when he asked his own mother which of her five children she loved best, she would say that they were like her five fingers: all were important and if one finger was hurt, the pain would be the same as if another finger was hurt.

The Gospel reading at the Mass recounted the story of the wedding feast at Cana where the wine ran out and Mary asked Jesus to do something about it. Jesus turned water into wine.

Despite the 90-degree heat, the 78-year-old pope was upbeat during the Mass and confident — even cheerful and playful — in his homily about the family.

The joy of the wedding feast at Cana, he said, began when Mary was attentive to the needs of others “and acted sensibly and courageously.”

“Mary is not a ‘demanding’ mother, a mother-in-law who revels in our lack of experience, our mistakes and the things we forget to do,” he said. “Mary is a mother! She is there, attentive and concerned.”

As with the guests at the Cana wedding, who were offered the finest wine at the end of the celebration, Pope Francis insisted, so, too, for families today “the richest, deepest and most beautiful things are yet to come.”

“The time is coming when we will taste love daily, when our children will come to appreciate the home we share and our elderly will be present each day in the joys of life,” he said. “The finest of wines will come for every person who stakes everything on love.”

Pope Francis said he knows “all the variables and statistics which say otherwise,” but “the best wine is yet to come for those who today feel hopelessly lost.”

Speeding up his delivery and increasing his volume, the pope made “the best wine is yet to come” into a litany. “Say it until you are convinced of it,” he told the crowd. “The best wine is yet to come.”

“Whisper it to the hopeless and the loveless,” the pope urged.

The whole story of God’s involvement with humanity, he said, demonstrates that he always seeks out those on the margins of society, “those who have run out of wine, those who drink only of discouragement.”

Jesus, he said, will provide flasks of the finest wine “for those who, for whatever reason, feel that all their jars have been broken.”

Strong families, he said, help build strong individuals and strong societies. They are the place where “our hearts find rest in strong, fruitful and joyful love.” Families teach people to be attentive to the needs of others and to place those needs ahead of one’s own.

“Service is the sign of true love,” he said.

When the church asks governments to assist families, he said, it is not asking for “alms,” but rather payment of the “social debt” societies owe to families.

Posted July 7, 2015

12 hours 52 min
 Be Multiplied is an initiative of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Food for All: Be Multiplied is an initiative of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Staff Report

No one should be hungry.

The archdiocesan Catholic Social Action Office, in partnership with the Office of the New Evangelization, Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio and Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, is sponsoring Food for All: Be Multiplied, launching July 1. The effort localizes Pope Francis’ “One Human Family, Food for All” vision to eliminate hunger by 2025.

A number of events are planned throughout the next several months. Parishes, schools, and businesses and other organizations such as St. Vincent de Paul are challenged to pledge food to the Food for All Campaign. Many parishes and schools already organize successful food drives throughout the year.  Each parish is challenged to pledge 5,000 pounds of non-perishables to be donated to their local food pantry. Food can be collected any time and include regularly planned 2015-16 food drives. A social media campaign will highlight the parishes, schools, and businesses making a pledge. The goal is 1,000,000 food items pledged. For more information, call Sean Ater at 513 421-3131, ext. 2733.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati and Food for All have come together to build a home honoring Pope Francis for his commitment to the poor. A kick off celebration for the home was held June 20 with an invocation by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer. Construction on the four-bedroom room is expected to be completed in early September. The house, being built for Ebony Bureau and family, is located in Millvale at 1620 Hopple Court. For more information and to volunteer contact Monica Human, volunteer coordinator, at 513-482-5614, or monica.human@habitatcincinnai.org.

The Office of the New Evangelization and the Catholic Schools Office are hosting a family Obstacle Run, 5K, food drive and after party for the whole community on Sept. 5 at Summit Park in Blue Ash. The event will feature fun for all ages. For more information, call Sean Ater.

Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley and the Catholic Social Action Office will provide parishes with the opportunity to host educational presentations on the subject of living in a food desert or facing a food hardship. Speakers and study materials and refreshments will be provided. Call Lisa Edward at 513-672-3720 for more information.

During his visit this fall, Pope Francis will speak to the U.S. Congress. The archdiocese is encouraging local Catholics to advocate for the protection of Child Nutrition Programs in the federal budget. Parishes can participate in the Offering of Letters designed by Bread for the World, an ecumenical Christian voice, which is supported by the USCCB, urging national leaders to end hunger at home and abroad. Between now and early September, parishes are encouraged to conduct an Offering of Letters and to consider including a moment of education on domestic hunger. These resources can be accessed at http://www. bread.org/ol/2015/downloads/, or by contacting the Catholic Social Action Office
at 513-421-3131, ext. 2660, or
csa@catholiccincinnati.org. Collected letters should be sent to the Catholic Social Action Office, so that they can be included with letters from Catholics throughout the entire archdiocese, blessed by the arch bishop, and delivered together to Congressional representatives.

Learn more about hunger during an evening with World Food Prize laureate Rev. David Beckmann, one of the foremost U.S. advocates on behalf of hungry and poor people, on Oct 21 (Dayton) and 22 (Cincinnati). He has been president of Bread for the World since 1991, leading large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcome hunger and poverty in the country and around the world. The event will include a dinner that incorporates a hunger awareness exercise (i.e. different meals served to represent range of food available to world populations). Call 800-300- 2937, ext. 1141 for information on the event.

More information about the campaign, ways to get involved and upcoming events can be found HERE

This Body & Soul feature originally appeared in the July 2015 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

22 hours 22 min
Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl walks to the altar at the start of a July 4 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. He was the main celebrant of the Mass on the final day of the U.S. bishops' Fortnight for Freedom campaign. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl walks to the altar at the start of a July 4 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. He was the main celebrant of the Mass on the final day of the U.S. bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom campaign. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Julie Asher
Catholic News Service 

WASHINGTON — Religious freedom is “the human right that guarantees all other rights,” Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski said July 4 in his homily at the closing Mass of the U.S. bishops’ fourth annual Fortnight for Freedom.

That right “has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person,” he said at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. “Peace and creative living together will only be possible if freedom of religion is fully respected.”

Two recent events have given U.S. Catholics both the opportunity and duty, he said, “to engage the world and witness to our teachings, to our vision of the life and dignity of the human person in a world which we recognize as both fallen and redeemed.”

Archbishop Wenski referenced Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” and to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that legalized “so-called same-sex marriage” across the country.

The Catholic Church’s teaching embraces what the pope in his encyclical “has called an ‘integral ecology,'” a natural and human ecology, the archbishop said.

“An integral ecology demands that rain forests be protected — because of what they do potentially and actually for the flourishing of the human species on this earth,” Archbishop Wenski continued. “Likewise, an integral ecology tells us that marriage, understood for millennia as a union of one man and one woman, ought to be respected and protected.”

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington was the main celebrant of the Mass that brought to an end the fortnight observance, which had as its theme this year “Freedom to Bear Witness.”

Archbishop Wenski concelebrated along with Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio and Auxiliary Bishop Richard B. Higgins of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services; and Auxiliary Bishops Barry C. Knestout and Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington.

Among the 30 or so priests concelebrating were Msgr. Walter R. Rossi, rector of the national shrine, and Msgr. Ronny Jenkins and Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary and associate general secretary, respectively, of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

It is clear the nation faces challenges to religious liberty, “one of our most cherished freedoms as Americans,” Msgr. Rossi said in welcoming remarks. “The freedom to live our lives according to our faith is fundamental, enshrined in the First Amendment.”

Religious freedom is under stress throughout the world, Archbishop Wenski said in his homily.

The International Society for Human Rights reports that “atrocities are committed against peoples and institutions of all the world’s religions,” he said, but it also notes that “80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians. Some 150,000 Christians are killed for the faith every year.”

In liberal Western democracies, he continued, “discrimination against religion in general and Catholic Christianity in particular is growing — albeit in perhaps more sophisticated and less violent ways.”

Archbishop Wenski said a “hard despotism is decimating the Christian populations of the Middle East.”

In the U.S. and other Western countries, “people of faith are being increasingly subjected to a soft despotism in which ridicule, ostracism and denial of employment opportunities (or) advancement are being used to marginalize us,” added the archbishop, who is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

“We see this when butchers and bakers and candlestick-makers are being put into the legal dock for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs” about traditional marriage, he said.

Archbishop Wenski said the Catholic Church by upholding its doctrine and serving all those in need illustrates the day’s reading from St. John’s Gospel about Jesus teaching his disciples that they were in the world and not “of the world,” but never against the world.

Jesus “calls us to be always for the world,” the archbishop said, which “explains why the church is concerned with education, with health care; it explains our involvement in civic affairs and why we define politics as something honorable and as a legitimate, and even noble, vocation for the Christian … why we as a church advocate for the poor and seek greater economic and social justice for all.”

The Catholic Church, he said, is committed to upholding “the dignity of every human life from the moment of conception until natural death, to the family built on marriage understood as a permanent and exclusive union of one man and one woman, to the right ordering of society for the common good and in conformity to the natural law because she feels that such commitments help promote human flourishing.”

Because of religious freedom, Catholics prospered in America, he said. “We built parishes, schools, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable institutions; we started businesses; we served honorably in our nation’s wars.”

Now courts in the U.S. and other Western countries “are chipping away,” he said, at that original meaning of religious freedom to reinterpret it narrowly as merely the “freedom to worship,” excluding freedom to serve and witness, and “to delegitimize the church’s participation in the public debate.”

Religious freedom also must protect institutions “that nourish the individual’s free exercise of religion,” he said.

Faith communities always have been able “to play an active role in society and express their own vision of the human person and of the policies that rule society,” he explained, noting that civil rights movement of the 1960s, for example, was a “religiously inspired movement.”

“Some today resent the public advocacy of religious people and communities,” Archbishop Wenski said. “They accuse us of trying to impose our views on others. Yet, as St. John Paul II explained, the church does not impose, she proposes.”

On Independence Day, he said, “we remember that the glory of our government is its protection of religious freedom.”

Posted July 6, 2015

1 day 10 hours
A screen capture from a new video released by the Vocations office shows young seminarians enjoying a meal with a priest.

A screen capture from a new video released by the Vocations office shows young seminarians enjoying a meal with a priest.

Staff Report

Late last month the Vocations Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati released a new video depicting the life of seminarians discerning their call to the priesthood in college seminary at Bishop Simon Brute in Indianapolis and the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus.

See the full video below

Men studying to become priests for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati typically attend collegiate or undergraduate seminary at one of the aforementioned institutions before doing the graduate level work at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary at the Athenaeum of Ohio.

The videos are presented to young men attending Andrew Dinners, events hosted by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr designed to introduce youths to a potential priestly vocation. The new video replaces an older one that was filmed back in 2009. The new video will be debuted at an Andrew Dinner in the fall.

“This video was created because our last college-focused seminary video was getting old,” said Wayne Topp, Associate Vocations Director. “In fact, one of the men in that video is entering his final year of formation and will be ordained a priest at the end of this year.

“Like our last college seminary video, the main purpose of this video is to present it to the men at our annual Andrew Dinners held throughout the archdiocese but we encourage anybody who ministers to young men in anyway (teachers, youth ministers, parents, etc.) to feel free to watch this with those men and talk to them about their reactions to it,” he added. “Perhaps, with God’s grace, this video can light a spark in a young man who hadn’t thought seriously about his call to the priesthood in the past.”

In the nearly 10-minute video produced by Cincinnati-based U.S. Digital Partners, young men describe what led them to enter college seminary to discern whether God is calling them to be priests. It also shows their daily life as they workout, play football, pray, eat meals and basically act like one would expect a group of college-aged men to act.

“We wanted everyone who watches this video to understand that by entering seminary, you don’t miss out on college life, but you also get so much more than the regular college experience,” Topp said. “You can hear in the stories being told that most of the men who enter college seminary do so without a certainty that they will be ordained a priest or that they are definitely called to the priesthood. It is a calling that all men struggle with throughout their time in formation and that is a very positive thing. That means they have entered the seminary for the right reason, to discern God’s will for their lives.”

The video had roughly 400 views in its first week online.

 

Posted July 2, 2015

2 days 8 hours

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From: Tristate Catholic news and features, daily
Posted
Cincinnati seminarian Jacob Willig (left) serving at the funeral for Sr. xx in Calcutta, India.

Cincinnati seminarian Jacob Willig (left) serving at the funeral for Sr. Nirmala Joshi in Calcutta, India. Sr. Nirmala was Mother Teresa’s first successor at the Missionaries of Charity.

Jacob Willig, a seminarian from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who is doing missionary work in India this summer, served as the thurifer (incense bearer) at the funeral for Sr. Nirmala Joshi, Mother Teresa’s first successor as Mother Superior for the Missionaries of Charity, in Calcutta last week.

Celebrated by Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppe with Archbishop Thomas D’Souza and the Bishop of Baruipur, Salvadore Lobo, the funeral was held at the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity and St. John’s Church. Sr. Nirmala, a convert from Hinduism, led the Sisters of Charity until 2009. She passed away June 22nd at age 81.

“Let us all try to follow Sister and live lives of mercy and prayer,” Willig wrote in an email to family. “All praise to the Father.”

The June 24th funeral was also on a significant day for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the Willig family: It was the anniversary of the death of Fr. Jim Willig, Jacob Willig’s uncle. For his CDs, DVDs, books, and more, see Heart to Heart, a Catholic Media Ministry.

See the coverage in the Telegraph’s India bureau here. Photos by Sanat Kr. Sinha, Telegraph India; no ownership implied.

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The funeral profession for Sr. Nirmala makes its way from the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity to xxx, for the burial.

The funeral profession for Sr. Nirmala makes its way from the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity to St. John’s Church for the burial.

21 hours 8 min

(Email subscribers: Click on the post headline to watch the video at our website.)

It’s an invitation, but to what? The Archdiocese of Cincinnati promises you’ll know soon. In the meantime, the one minute video only has 186 views. Give it some love.
Click here to see all our current stories; to see all our weekly videos, click here.

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21 hours 18 min
 Faced with applying again for a variance or closing their Kettering (OH) abortion business, Martin and Valerie Haskell will try again for a variance. Photo by Paolo Gadler; courtesy FreeImages.

Still open: Faced with applying again for a variance or closing their Kettering (OH) abortion business, Martin and Valerie Haskell will try again for a variance. Photo by Paolo Gadler; courtesy FreeImages.

The Dayton Daily News reports that late-term abortionist Martin Haskell and his wife Varlerie will apply for another variance to keep their Kettering (OH) abortion business open.

Last week Ohio Right to Life released a letter from the Ohio Department of Health denying the business a variance because it had secured agreements with only two area doctors to provide backup care in case of complications. Ohio law requires three.

The letter, issued to Haskell at the beginning of June, gave the abortionist a month to decide whether or not to apply again. According to the Dayton Daily News (read the story here), Valerie Haskell said the couple were reluctant to name doctors in their application because “there’s concern that backup doctors identified to the state could be targeted by anti-abortion activists.”

Haskell is known for popularizing the “partial-birth abortion” technique, now outlawed, which delivered a baby part of the way through the birth canal, where he or she would be killed. The Haskells own three abortion businesses, two in southwest Ohio and one in Indianapolis.

For our story on the DOH order, click here.

For coverage of the DOH’s denial of a license to the Haskell’s Sharonville (OH) business, click here.

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Bishop Joseph Strickland, Diocese of Tyler (TX). Photo courtesy the Diocese of Tyler.

Bishop Joseph Strickland, Diocese of Tyler (TX). Photo courtesy the Diocese of Tyler.

The response of American bishops to the Supreme Court’s ruling obliging all states to recognize “same-sex marriage” has ranged from mild shrugs (see Chicago’s Archbishop Cupich) to forthright opposition (see Philadelphia’s Archbishop Chaput). So far the most outspoken bishop has been Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler (TX). He ordered the following letter announcing an upcoming decree to be read at every Mass this weekend in the diocese. It is reproduced here in full (for a Spanish translation, click here). A reminder: Such letters and decrees apply only to a bishop’s own diocese, not to the Church as a whole.

TO THE PRIESTS, DEACONS, CONSECRATED RELIGIOUS AND CATHOLIC FAITHFUL OF THE DIOCESE OF TYLER, OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF OTHER FAITH TRADITIONS, AND ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL IN THE THIRTY-THREE COUNTIES OF NORTHEAST TEXAS THAT MAKE UP THE DIOCESE OF TYLER:

On the morning of June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a 5-4 decision establishing the legal right of two individuals of the same sex to legally marry in all 50 states. By doing so, the Court has acted in contradiction to their duty to promote the common good, especially what is good for families. I join with the Bishops of the United States in calling this decision a “tragic error.”

Let me unambiguously state at the outset that this extremely unfortunate decision by our government is unjust and immoral, and it is our duty to clearly and emphatically oppose it.  In spite of the decision by the Supreme Court, there are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family. Regardless of this decision, what God has revealed and what the Church therefore holds to be true about marriage has not changed and is unchangeable.

Marriage is not just a relationship between human beings that is based on emotions and feelings. Rather, our Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Traditions tell us that God established true marriage with its own special nature and purpose, namely the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.

While taking a strong stand for marriage is the duty of all who call themselves Christian, every type of unjust discrimination against those with homosexual tendencies should be avoided. We must treat these individuals with loving kindness and respect based on their dignity as human persons. Christ rejects no one, but he calls all of us to be converted from our sinful inclinations and follow the truth He has revealed to us. Nevertheless, our continued commitment to the pastoral care of homosexual persons cannot and will not lead in any way to the condoning of homosexual behavior or our acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions.

While some of us may have family members who have same-sex attraction, and there are even some who are members of our local churches, this decision to require the legal recognition of so-called marriage between homosexual persons should in no way lead us to believe that the living out of this orientation or the solemnizing of relationships between two persons of the same sex is a morally acceptable option.

We know that unjust laws and other measures contrary to the moral order are not binding in conscience, thus we must now exercise our right to conscientious objection against this interpretation of our law which is contrary to the common good and the true understanding of marriage.

Given this and recognizing my responsibility and moral authority as the shepherd of this Church of Tyler, I will shortly issue a decree in this Diocese establishing, as particular law, that no member of the clergy or any person acting as employee of the Church may in any way participate in the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages, and that no Catholic facilities or properties, including churches, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions, or any places dedicated or consecrated, or use for Catholic worship, may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages.

Finally, I call on the Catholic faithful of the Diocese to turn in prayer to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, asking their intercession for our nation that all of us may come to a greater understanding of the beauty, truth and goodness that is found in marriage as revealed to us by our Savior.

I instruct that this letter is to be publically read by the priest-celebrant following the proclamation of the Gospel at all Masses of obligation in the parishes, missions and chapels of Diocese of Tyler on the weekend of July 3-4, 2015.

Given at the Diocesan Chancery
On the 26th day of June
Friday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen

Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler

For the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) response to the Supreme Court decision, click here.

For Archbishop Dennis Schnurr’s response, click here.

For Archbishop Joseph Tobin’s response, click here.

For a collection of bishops’ responses throughout the country, 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.

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Saints above the altar at Mount St. Mary's Seminary of the West's Chapel of St. Gregory the Great include three of particular importance to Cincinnati. Photo by Trey Rouse.

Saints above the altar at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West’s Chapel of St. Gregory the Great include three (in the niche on the right) of particular importance to Cincinnati. Photo by Trey Rouse.

This photo of the reredos (carved screen behind the altar) at The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West’s beautiful Chapel of St. Gregory the Great (Mt. Washington/Cincinnati) shows three saints important to the seminary and the city: St. Francis de Sales, St. Gregory the Great, and St. Robert Bellarmine.

St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers, is also patron saint of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. St. Gregory, whom the chapel is named for, was also the patron of the Archdiocese’s original seminary, which opened in 1890 but was later combined with Mount St. Mary of the West Seminary. And St. Robert Bellarmine honors the Jesuits, whose college (then called the Athenaeum) later became Xavier University. The name “Athenaeum” — a general term for a library or scholarly institution e chapel — passed to the Archdiocese. XU’s chapel is named for this third saint.

Photo by Trey Rouse.

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1 day 21 hours