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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis urged members of Secular Institutes to work for a renewed charism that unites the lay and consecrated aspects of their lives and mission. His remarks came in a message sent on his behalf by the Secretary, of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to participants attending the World Conference of members of Secular Institutes held in Rome this week.
The Pope wrote that they are both lay and consecrated people and both aspects are on the same level and equally important. He encouraged the members of the Secular Institutes to live an intense life of prayer, saying their greatest challenge is to be schools of sainthood here on earth, living normal lives but always at the service of others and bearing witness to the values of brotherhood and friendship.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) With the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Kolkata) drawing near, the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth Hackett, shared his memories of her and in one anecdote described how she was able to exert her moral influence over the then Reagan Administration. Ambassador Hackett knew and worked closely with Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity Order while he served as president of Catholic Relief Services and the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See has launched an online exhibit documenting the strong ties Mother Teresa had with the United States. He was interviewed by Susy Hodges.
Describing himself as “ecstatic” over Mother Teresa’s canonization, Ambassador Hackett said he felt it was definitely overdue or as he put it, “a long time in coming.” He paid tribute to Mother and the Missionaries of Charity Order she founded, saying she extended “mercy, kindness, concern and compassion to those who have absolutely fallen through society’s cracks” such as people on the streets who are dying or children who have been abandoned. Hackett had earlier described her as a “field hospital” saint, taking the metaphor used one day by Pope Francis at his morning Mass to describe the action of the Church in reaching out to those who are in need.
“A great sense of humour”
Turning to her personality, Hackett disclosed that she had “a great sense of humour” and was adept at “tweaking” people by pricking their consciences when it came to their responsibilities to help the poor and needy. When she did that to him, the ambassador described his reaction:
“You felt like you had got a thunderbolt right through you!”
Asked to share any special memories or anecdotes about Mother Teresa, Hackett stressed that she “knew how to move the agenda” not just with people like him but also with Presidents and the powerful. As an example, he described one incident where in his earlier post as head of Catholic Relief Services he was in a meeting with leading members of the U.S. Agency for International Development during the time of the “big famine” in Ethiopia during the 1980’s.
Mother Teresa’s letter to President Reagan
He said they were having an “argument” at that meeting about U.S. government plans to cut food donations to the Ethiopian government when somebody brought in a note from (the then) Secretary of State George Schultz saying that "the President wants an answer in half an hour to Mother Teresa’s letter asking President Reagan why he is cutting food to the needy in Ethiopia.” Describing Mother Teresa as “bold”, Hackett said as a result of that intervention, food supplies were NOT cut to Ethiopia and this was an example of her strong moral influence, even when it came to world leaders.
Hackett spoke about the online exhibit which the U.S. embassy to the Holy See launched on August 26th and which documents the strong ties Blessed Teresa had with the United States. He said the exhibit includes many photos and a four-minute video showing Mother Teresa during some of her frequent visits to the U.S. and explained how Americans, regardless of their faith, always held Mother Teresa in high regard. Hackett said this was very apparent because during her U.S. visits, Catholic Relief Services received “thousands” of requests from people wishing to volunteer their services.(from Vatican Radio)
«Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace». Message for the 50th World Day of Peace, the fourth of Pope Francis.
«Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace». This is the title of the Message for the 50th World Day of Peace (1st january 2017), the fourth of Pope Francis. Violence and Peace are at the origin of two opposite ways to building society.
The proliferation of hotbeds of violence produces most serious negative social consequences. The Holy Father sums up this situation in the expression: “A Third World War in Pieces”. Peace, by contrast, promotes social positive consequences and it allows the achievement of real progress. Therefore, we should act within what is possible, and negotiate ways of peace even where they seem tortuous and impractical. Thus, non-violence can acquire a more comprehensive and new meaning. It will not only consist of desire, of moral rejection of violence, barriers, destructive impulses, but also of a realistic political method that gives rise to hope.
Such a political method is based on the primacy of law. If the rights and the equal dignity of every person are safeguarded without any discrimination and distinction, then non-violence, understood as a political method, can constitute a realistic way to overcome arm conflicts. In this perspective, it becomes important to increasingly recognize not the right of force but the force of right.
With this Message, Pope Francis wants to show a further step, a path of hope, appropriate to today’s historical circumstances. In this way, the settlement of disputes may be reached through negotiation without then degenerating into armed conflict. Within such a perspective the culture and identity of Peoples are respected and the opinion that some are morally superior to others is overcome.
At the same time, however, it does not mean that one Nation can remain indifferent to the tragedies of another. Rather it means a recognition of the primacy of diplomacy over the noise of arms.
Arms trade is so widespread that it is generally underestimated. Illegal arms trafficking supports not a few world’s conflicts. Non-violence as a political style can and must do much to stem this scourge.
TheWorld Peace Day initiated by Paul VI is celebrated each year on the first day of January. The Holy Father's Message is sent to all Foreign Ministries of the world and it indicates the diplomatic concerns of the Holy See during the coming year.
(Vatican Radio) As a concrete sign of his closeness to the victims of Italy’s earthquake, Pope Francis has sent a team of six firefighters and six Gendarmerie from the Vatican City State to Amatrice, the city in central Italy worst affected by the quake.
A statement from the Holy See Press Office said the six firefighters and Gendarmerie would help Italy’s Civil Protection workers search for survivors still under the rubble and assist those already rescued.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday made a special greeting during his General Audience to the members of the International Paralympic Committee and the athletes who are preparing to participate in the next Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which will take place from 7-18 September.
The Holy Father blessed the Paralympic Flag when he was in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day in 2013, taking the opportunity to speak about the bonds between evangelisation and the world of sport.
The Vatican is participating in the "Casa Italia Paralimpica in Rio 2016,” which is a meeting place for the Italian delegation at the Paralympic Games.
The Casa Italia is a long-term project – which will involve the collaboration of the Holy See and the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro – to offer practical support to a series of project initiatives, especially involving parasport activities.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) In the wake of the powerful earthquake that struck central Italy on Wednesday, Pope Francis at the General Audience postponed his prepared catechesis, and led the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square in the recitation of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary.
The Holy Father expressed his “heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness” to all those affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. He said he was deeply saddened upon learning several children were among the dead, and of hearing of the total destruction of the town of Amatrice.
“I want to assure all the people of Accumuli, Amatrice, the Diocese of Rieti, Ascoli Piceno, and all the people of Lazio, Umbria, and Le Marche, of the prayers and close solidarity of the entire Church, who in these moments extends her merciful love, as well as the concern of all of us here in the Piazza," Pope Francis said.
He asked everyone to join him in prayer to Jesus, that the Lord might “console the broken-hearted, and, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, bring them peace.”
“With Jesus,” Pope Francis concluded, “let our hearts be moved with compassion.”
Below, please find the full text of the Pope’s remarks at the General Audience on Wednesday:
“I had prepared the catechesis for today, as for all Wednesdays during this year of mercy, focusing on the closeness of Jesus. However on hearing of the news of the earthquake that has struck central Italy, and which has devastated entire areas and left many wounded, I cannot fail to express my heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness to all those present in the zones afflicted.
“I also express my condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and my spiritual support to those who are anxious and afraid. Hearing the mayor of Amatrice say that the town no longer exists, and learning that there are children among the dead, I am deeply saddened.
“For this reason, I want to assure all the people of Accumuli, Amatrice, the Diocese of Rieti, Ascoli Piceno, and all the people of Lazio, Umbria, and Le Marche, of the prayers and close solidarity of the entire Church, who in these moments extends her merciful love, as well as the concern of all of us here in the Piazza.
“And thanking all the volunteer and rescue personnel who are assisting these people, I ask you to join me in praying to the Lord Jesus, Who is always moved by compassion before the reality of human suffering, that He may console the broken hearted, and through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, bring them peace.
“With Jesus let our hearts be moved with compassion.
“So we will postpone, then, this week’s catechesis until next Wednesday, and I invite you to pray with me a part of the holy Rosary, the sorrowful mysteries.”(from Vatican Radio)