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(Vatican Radio) In his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis focused on Jesus’ teaching on prayer, from the day’s Gospel.
When the Apostles asked the Lord to teach them to pray, Jesus responded, “When you pray, say ‘Father…’” This word, “Father,” the Pope said, is the “secret” of the prayer of Jesus – “it is the key that He Himself gives us so that we too can enter into that relationship of confidential dialogue with the Father.”
Moving on to the various petitions addressed to God in the Lord’s Prayer, Pope Francis said the first two petitions, “hallowed be Thy Name,” and “Thy kingdom come” are associated with the name “Father.” Jesus’ prayer – and thus Christian prayer – consists first of all in making room for God, allowing Him to act in our lives.
St Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer than continues with three more petitions, which express our fundamental needs: for bread, for forgiveness, and for help in temptations. We ask in prayer for bread which is necessary, not superfluous; we ask, in the first place, for forgiveness of our own sins, so that we might be capable of “concrete acts of fraternal reconciliation”; and we ask that we might not be lead into temptation, because we know we are weak, “always exposed to the snares of wickedness and of corruption.”
The two parables following the Lord’s Prayer teach us “to have full confidence in God, who is Father.” God does not need our prayer to discover what we need, or to be convinced to give it to us. Rather, Pope Francis said, we pray so that our faith and patience might be strengthened, so that we might “struggle” together with God for those things that are most important and necessary.
And that which is most important, but which, the Pope said, we almost never ask for, is the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit helps us to live well, to live with wisdom and love, doing the will of God. “What a beautiful prayer it would be,” Pope Francis said, if in the coming week, “each one of us would ask of the Father, “Father, give me the Holy Spirit.”(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis expressed his condolences for the victims of the attack that took place in Munich on Friday.
In a telegram addressed to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the Archbishop of Munich, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Pope Francis “shares in the pain of the survivors and expresses to them his closeness in suffering,” and “entrusts the departed, in prayer, to the mercy of God.”
The Pope also thanked emergency service personnel and security forces for “their attentive and generous service.”
Cardinal Parolin concluded the telegram with the Pope’s prayer that Christ “the Lord of Life,” might “give comfort and consolation to all.”
Here is the full text of the telegram sent to Cardinal Reinhard Marx:
His Eminence Cardinal Reinhard Marx Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Pope Francis has noted with consternation the news of the terrible act of violence which occurred in Munich, in which several persons, mostly young people, were killed, and many others were gravely wounded. His Holiness shares in the pain of the survivors and expresses to them his closeness in suffering. He entrusts the departed in prayer to the mercy of God. He expresses his deep sympathy to all those who were wounded in this attack, and thanks the rescue service personnel and the security forces for their attentive and generous service. Pope Francis beseeches Christ, the Lord of Life, to give comfort and consolation to all, and imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of hope.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Young people across the US are preparing for the trip of a lifetime when they travel to World Youth Day in Krakow. Over 30,000 pilgrims from the United States alone have fully registered to travel to the event which will be presided over by Pope Francis.
Paul Jarzembowski, is World Youth Day USA national coordinator for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, He told Lydia O’Kane that the response has been incredible for the event.
“We have more pilgrims going from the United States to this World Youth Day than we’ve had to any other World Youth Day outside of North America, so I have to think that there is something about recapturing that spirit with St John Paul II, with the Jubilee of Mercy, with being able to encounter Pope Francis whom many of our young people are following through social media, the news and the read his writings… so I think all of that put together is getting people excited…”
But he also points out that although there are many young people going from the United States, there are those who will not be fortunate enough to attend the celebrations in Poland due to different circumstances. With that in mind, the national coordinator explains that even by staying at home young people will get a real chance to experience World Youth Day.
“We have in different cities across the United States, there are going to be gatherings… and then of course people can celebrate in their own home parishes and we’re hearing reports of perhaps one parish getting together with their young people throughout that week, each night gathering their young people to follow what’s happening in Krakow that day…”
For Paul Jarzembowski, he is hoping that World Youth Day in Krakow will an opportunity for young people to come back to the United States, not just sharing the Gospel but sharing it with a sense of mercy and compassion.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Following the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis once again called for prayer for goodness and fraternity in the wake of recent acts of terrorism and violence.
“At this time our soul is once again moved by sad news related to deplorable acts of terrorism and of violence, which have caused sorrow and death,” the Pope said. “I think of the dramatic events in Munich in Germany, and in Kabul in Afghanistan, where many innocent people lost their lives.” He assured the family and friends of the victims of his spiritual closeness to them.
The Holy Father also called on people to join him in prayer “that the Lord might inspire in everyone intentions of goodness and fraternity.” The more “difficulties might seem insurmountable, and prospects of security and peace seem obscure,” he said, “the more insistent must our prayer be.”
Finally, after a few moments of silent prayer, Pope Francis led those gathered in Saint Peter’s Square in the recitation of the Ave Maria.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Friday published a new Apostolic Constitution, Vultum Dei quaerere (Seeking the Face of God), On Women’s Contemplative Life.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report:
The promotion of an adequate formation; the centrality of prayer and of the word of God, especially in lectio divina; specific criteria for the autonomy of contemplative communities; and membership of monasteries within federations are some of the main points addressed by Pope Francis in the new Apostolic Constitution.
In the introduction to Vultum Dei quaerere, Pope Francis explains the motivation behind the document, noting the journey the Church has undergone, and “the rapid progress of human history,” in the fifty years since the Second Vatican Council. From that starting point, the Pope points out the need “to weave a dialogue” with contemporary society, while preserving the “fundational values” of contemplative life – silence, attentive listening, the call to an interior life, stability. Through these values, the Pope says, contemplative life “can and must challenge the contemporary mindset.”
The document is introduced by a broad discussion of the importance of nuns and the contemplative life for the Church and the world. Addressing contemplative sisters, the Pope asks, “Without you what would the Church be like, or those living on the fringes of humanity and ministering in the outposts of evangelization?” The Church, he says, “greatly esteems your life of complete self-giving. The Church counts on your prayers and on your self-sacrifice to bring today’s men and women to the good news of the Gospel. The Church needs you!”
The bulk of the document is taken up with a reflection on twelve themes calling for discernment and renewed norms. Among these, Pope Francis calls special attention to the need for adequate formation, to prayer, and to the centrality of the Word of God.
The new document concludes with a series of fourteen articles that set the Pope’s reflections in juridical terms, notably with regard to formation and vocational discernment; the exercise of authority within communities; the autonomy of the various communities; and their relationships to one another – especially in federations. The final article establishes that the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life will be responsible for issuing new regulations with regard to the indications of the Apostolic Constitution.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a special envoy to South Sudan to urge for an end to violence in the country and to help establish dialogue and trust between the warring parties.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, travelled to the capital Juba this week to give support to the Archbishop and to meet with the country’s leaders.
He carried with him a letter from the Pope for President Salva Kiir and one for Vice President Riek Machar who are historic enemies and represent the different ethnic groups.
For almost a year, South Sudan has been trying to emerge from a civil war caused by political rivalry between the Vice President and the President. Violent clashes across the city have left tens of thousands of people dead since December 2013 and a recent flare-up of fighting has caused more casualties, scores of displaced people and a serious humanitarian crisis.
Although a cease-fire is currently in effect in Juba, the threat of more violence continues to loom large.
Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni asked Cardinal Turkson to illustrate the current situation and talk about the Church’s effort to push forward a peaceful process.
Cardinal Peter Turkson says he arrived in Juba last Sunday early enough to celebrate Mass with the faithful, the Archbishop, the priests and the religious.
“To put it mildly: the situation is tough” he says.
He says the violence which flared on the 5th anniversary of the country’s independence recurs intermittently between the warring forces causing a lot of deaths.
And, he explained, it is also very hard on the civilian population who flee the violence to save their lives leaving their homes to be looted. occupied or destroyed.
“A lot of the women and children and even boys have sought refuge in Churches and in schools – and that is where they live – and the priests and brothers and nuns try to take care of them as best as they can” he says.
But Turkson says the situation is desperate and security levels are low.
He says the authorities he has met with have promised to do their best to put a programme of reform on course towards elections in 2018.
Turkson explains that the process has been derailed by recent events but the President maintains the course can be resumed.
“We brought them the greetings of the Pope, his solidarity, two letters he had addressed to the President and to the Vice President – the two protagonists of the conflict” he says.
The Cardinal says his own effort was “to try to get them to come together at some point, to see if we could facilitate a reconciliation, to help them build some trust and confidence in each other”.
Turkson also speaks of the urgent need for help and says he has already contacted Cor Unum in Rome to see what assistance can be organized in terms of medication.
He explains that the displaced population is living in the open and in classrooms and are victims of mosquito bites so there is malaria, dysentery, “there’s even talk about cholera in some areas”.
“So there’s a need for medication and there’s a need for food supplies” he says.
Cardinal Turkson concludes expressing his hope that upon his return to Rome later this week it will be possible to send some concrete aid back to the archbishop “as a help from the side of the Holy See”.
(from Vatican Radio)