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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday invited the people of Mexico to sing the ‘Guadalupana,’ a traditional hymn to Our Lady of Guadalupe, for the suffering of the nation’s people.
The Holy Father’s remarks came during his greetings to Spanish-speaking pilgrims at the weekly General Audience.
“Pray for all those who suffer for any reason or who feel abandoned, so that looking at the Crucified, they are able to discover and feel the comfort and forgiveness of Christ, the Face of the Father’s Mercy,” Pope Francis said.
The murder of three priests has made headlines in Mexico, and Pope Francis sent a telegram strongly condemning the “brutal attacks.”(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis lit a symbolic torch at his Wednesday General Audience for the 'Week of the Family‘ event to be held by the Diocese of Rome on 2-8 October.
The Holy Father said the flame was a ‘symbol of the love of Roman families and those of the whole world’.
The ‘Week of the Family’ seeks to highlight the centrality of the family in Rome and to rediscover its beauty.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegram expressing his “heartfelt condolences” to the people of Israel upon learning of the death of their former President, Shimon Peres. He died on Wednesday at the age of 93.
“I fondly recall my time with Mr Peres at the Vatican and renew my great appreciation for the late President's tireless efforts in favour of peace,” Pope Francis said.
On June 8, 2014, Pope Francis hosted the historic prayer meeting in the Vatican Gardens with then-President Peres and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting came just weeks after Peres welcomed him to Israel during the Holy Father’s May 2014 trip to the Holy Land. The two men had previously met on April 30, 2013, at the Vatican.
Pope Francis met with Peres again at the Vatican in September of 2014, two months after he left office. The two men met for the last time on June 20, this year.
“As the State of Israel mourns Mr Peres, I hope that his memory and many years of service will inspire us all to work with ever greater urgency for peace and reconciliation between peoples,” – Pope Francis continued in his telegram – “In this way, his legacy will truly be honoured and the common good for which he so diligently laboured will find new expressions, as humanity strives to advance on the path towards enduring peace. With the assurance of my prayers for all who grieve, especially for the Peres family, I invoke the divine blessings of consolation and strength upon the nation.”
The full text of the telegram of Pope Francis is below
His Excellency Reuven Rivlin President of the State of Israel
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Excellency Shimon Peres, and I wish to convey to you and to all the people of Israel my heartfelt condolences. I fondly recall my time with Mr Peres at the Vatican and renew my great appreciation for the late President's tireless efforts in favour of peace. As the State of Israel mourns Mr Peres, I hope that his memory and many years of service will inspire us all to work with ever greater urgency for peace and reconciliation between peoples. In this way, his legacy will truly be honoured and the common good for which he so diligently laboured will find new expressions, as humanity strives to advance on the path towards enduring peace. With the assurance of my prayers for all who grieve, especially for the Peres family, I invoke the divine blessings of consolation and strength upon the nation.
FRANCISCUS PP.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis greeted the faithful from the Italian dioceses of Ascoli Piceno, Otranto, and Nonantola who are on pilgrimage to Rome for the Jubilee of Mercy, at the conclusion of his Wednesday General Audience.
The Holy Father greeted Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole and the faithful of his Diocese of Ascoli Piceno, which was hard-hit by a 6.1-magnitude earthquake near the town of Pescara del Tronto.
Recovery efforts in the region continue to be hampered by aftershocks.
He also greeted the faithful from the Archdiocese of Otranto and their Archbishop Donato Negro, as well as the faithful from the Archdiocese of Modena-Nonantola.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” he said, “your pilgrimage for the Holy Year expresses a sense of communion with the universal Church and makes you witnesses of mercy in your local Churches.”(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has once again appealed for peace in Syria. At his General Audience on Wednesday, the Pope said, “dramatic news continues to reach me concerning the fate of the people of Aleppo, with whom, through prayer and spiritual closeness, I feel united in suffering.”
The Holy Father continued, “In expressing my deep sorrow and lively concern for what is happening in that already battered city – where children, the elderly, the sick, young and old, all are dying – I renew my appeal to everyone to commit themselves with all their strength to the protection of civilians as an imperative and urgent obligation.”
Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis appealed directly to those responsible for the bombing, warning them that they will be “accountable to God” for their actions.
Since a ceasefire collapsed last week, rebel-held areas of Aleppo have been heavily bombarded, raising international concern over the plight of their 250,000 residents. On Wednesday morning, the Syrian military announced it was launching "concentrated air strikes" in Aleppo and nearby areas, targeting insurgent-held areas in the surrounding countryside.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report:(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) At his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke about “Forgiveness on the Cross.”
Below, please find the English language summary of the Pope’s catechesis for the weekly General Audience:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Jesus’ words during His Passion culminate in forgiveness: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). For the good thief, these are not mere words, for Jesus truly forgives him. For the bad thief, however, it is inconceivable that the Messiah would remain on the Cross and not save Himself. But it is precisely by remaining on the Cross that Jesus offers salvation to every person regardless of their situation. This Jubilee Year is a time of grace and mercy for all, the good and the bad, those in health and those who suffer. It is a time to remember that nothing can separate us from the love of God (cf. Rm 8:39). To all those sick in hospital, who live within the walls of a prison, or who are trapped by war, we are called to look to Christ Crucified on the Cross, who is God with us, who remains with us on the Cross and who offers Himself as our Saviour. The good thief helps us to understand how we should approach God: with awe and not fear, with respect for God’s power and infinite goodness. When we approach Him in this way, we entrust ourselves to His mercy, even in the darkest of moments. For God is always with us sinners, and He loves us even to death on the Cross. Let us see in the good thief a model of confidence in the Lord and, like him, let us call upon Jesus’ name and ask Him to remember us in Paradise.
Greetings to pilgrims:
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, South Africa, Australia, Canada and the United States of America. I extend a special welcome to the seminarians of the Pontifical North American College and their families gathered here for the Ordination to the Diaconate to be celebrated tomorrow. May God bless you all!(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with members of the World Jewish Congress on Monday evening.
An article published on Tuesday by the Vatican newspaper, the 'Osservatore Romano', highlighted how the Holy Father spoke about a series of issues pertaining to inter faith relations and the current migration crisis on the European continent.
“Europe often forgets that it has been enriched by migrants,” – Pope Francis said – “Europe is closing itself up. Europe is lacking creativity. Europe has a falling birth rate, and problems of high unemployment.”
Pope Francis also spoke about migrants integrating into their new surroundings, which he called “important.”
“The people who committed the terrorist attacks in Belgium were not properly integrated,” he said.
Pope Francis also reiterated a good Christian could not be an anti-Semite, and said Christians and Jews must speak out against brutality in the world.
“We need more friendliness and kindness, and we should not be afraid to speak out against brutality,” – the Holy Father said – “We should go on a joint journey together to make the world more secure. We need to speak out for peace.”
The World Jewish Congress includes the heads of Jewish communities in Europe and the Americas, and in light of the upcoming Rosh Hashana holiday, Pope Francis wished the Jewish world a happy new year.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) At a briefing for journalists at the Holy See press office on Monday, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke gave details of Pope Francis’ forthcoming three day visit to the republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan. It’ll be his 16th pastoral visit outside Italy and it’ll be focused on the themes of peace and brotherhood, following on from the message of peace that he took with him to the neighbouring republic of Armenia last June.
The Pope is scheduled to leave the Vatican on Friday morning, headed for the Georgian capital Tbilisi. His first encounter there will be with the president, with government authorities and representatives of civil society gathered at the imposing presidential palace. From there he goes on to meet the country’s Orthodox leader Patriarch Elia, who was also on hand for Pope John Paul II’s visit to the newly independent nation back in 1999.
The final event on Friday will be a visit to the Syro-Chaldean church of St Simon the Tanner, one of three different rites making up the small Catholic community in the former Soviet nation. The pope will join Syro-Chaldean bishops from around the world there to pray for peace in Syria and Iraq.
Pope Francis begins the following day with Mass at a stadium in Tbilisi named after one of Georgia’s most famous footballers. Significantly, a delegation from the Orthodox Patriarchate will also be present at the Mass, a sign of growing friendship despite the many doctrinal difficulties that continue to divide leaders of the two Churches.
In the afternoon, the Pope will meet with priests, religious and seminarians at one of the two Catholic parishes in the capital, before greeting several hundred disabled and vulnerable people being cared for by members of the Camilian order. The Pope’s final event in Georgia will be a visit to the patriarchal cathedral in the nearby ancient city of Mtshketa, listed as one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites.
On the final day of the trip, Pope Francis flies from Tbilisi to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan where he’ll celebrate Mass for the tiny Catholic community at the only parish church run by the Salesian order. In the afternoon he’ll make a courtesy visit to the president and meet the region’s Muslim leader, Sheik Allashukur Pashazade, before taking part in an interfaith encounter with representatives of all the other religious communities in the country.(from Vatican Radio)