Feast: December 2
Dear Saint Bibiana, through your fasting and prayer you were given the grace to endure suffering and torment at the hands of your persecutors. Intercede for us, dear saint, that we also remember that our Lord is always there to strengthen us and give us the grace to persevere. Amen.
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Saturday, December 1, 2018
Yaoundè (Agenzia Fides) – "We thank everyone for the solidarity shown during our captivity. It was no easy experience. In those difficult days our thoughts and prayers went to the Martyrs of our Congregation. For our part we experienced the warmth of your prayers and affection. At present we are at our parish in Douala and want to start negotiations for the release of our driver Jerry Berson. We are all alive. Although information referred to Jude, Placid, Abel and the driver, there were actually five of us! Fr. Yene Anaclet, the local parish priest who came to negotiate our release, was also held by the kidnappers. Now he too has been released and we are all in Douala": this was the first message issued, sent also to Fides, from the three Claretian missionaries abducted in Cameroon on 23 November and released yesterday 29 November.
For its part the Claretian Congregation said "We thank God for the release of our missionary confreres abducted on 23 November . We are grateful for all the messages of solidarity, communion and prayers. May God bless us all!": this was the message issued by the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Maria (Claretians), sent also to Fides, which announced the release. The Congregation is celebrating for the release of the confreres of the Independent Delegation of Cameroon.
I missionaries released are: Fr Giuda Taddeo Langhe, Apostolate Prefect and director of "Pubblicaciones Claretianas del Camerun”; Fr. Placide Muntong Gweh, student Abel Fondem Ndia, and lastly also Fr.Yene Anaclet. The Claretians abducted on 23 November by secessionists present in the Anglophone area of the country, were on the way to Munyenge with humanitarian aid for the people suffering because of fighting in the area. (see Fides 26/11/2018). The missionaries are now in Douala, but the driver, also taken prisoner, is still in the hands of the kidnappers.
In the two English speaking regions of Cameroon involved, violence against men of the Church is increasing. On 21 November Fr. Cosmas Omboto Ondari, a missionary of Kenyan nationality a member of the Mill Hill Mission Society of St Joseph, was murdered in Kembong, a few kilometres from Memfe, main town in the Department of South Eastern Province. (AP)
(30/11/2018 FULL TEXT Source: Agenzia Fides)
Pope Francis says: "It’s better for [homosexual priests and male and female religious] to leave the ministry or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life.”...
These comments were just released from a book-length interview to be published next week, by Religion Digital.
EXTRACT OF THE BOOK 'THE STRENGTH OF THE VOCATION. THE CONSECRATED LIFE TODAY '(CLARETIANAS)
Pope Francis: "The ministry or the consecrated life is not the place (of the homosexuals)" Pope Francis recognizes that homosexuality "is a reality that we can not deny"To the homosexual priests, religious men and women, we must urge them to live celibacy in full and, above all, to be exquisitely responsible, trying never to scandalize Fernando Prado: "The Pope gains even more in the short distances" On December 3, the book 'La fuerza of the vocation '(Claretian publications). It is an interview of the Claretian Fernando Prado to Pope Francis about the past, the present and the future of the consecrated life.
A clear and courageous book, in which Francis does not avoid any question. Not even the controversial issue of homosexuality in the Church, which Religion Digital advances exclusively. Are there limits that should not be tolerated in training? Evidently.
When there are candidates with neurosis and strong imbalances, difficult to channel or with therapeutic help, we must not accept them neither to the priesthood nor to the consecrated life. You have to help them to go to another place, do not abandon them. We must orient them, but we must not admit them. Let us always bear in mind that they are people who will live in the service of the Church, of the Christian community, of the people of God. Let's not forget that horizon.
We must take care that they are psychologically and affectively healthy. It is not a secret that in the consecrated life and in the clergy there are also people with homosexual tendencies. What to say about this? It's something that worries me, because maybe in a moment it did not focus well. In the line of what we are talking about, I would say that we have to take great care in forming human and affective maturity.
We have to discern with seriousness and listen to the voice of the experience that the Church also has. When discernment is not taken care of in all this, the problems grow. As I said before, it happens that at the moment maybe they do not show their faces, but later they appear.
The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be properly discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case. We have to be demanding. In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the Church. I had a somewhat scandalized bishop here who told me that he had learned that in his diocese, a very large diocese, there were several homosexual priests and that he had to face all this, intervening, first of all, in the formation, to form another distinct clergy. It is a reality that we can not deny. In the consecrated life there have been no cases.
A religious told me that, from a canonical visit to one of the provinces of his congregation, he had been surprised. He saw that there were good student boys and that even some religious already professed were gay. He himself doubted the question and asked me if there was something wrong with it. "In short," he was saying, "it's not that serious; it is just an expression of an affection ».
This is a mistake. It is not just an expression of affection. In the consecrated life and in the priestly life, that kind of affections have no place. For this reason, the Church recommends that people with this ingrained tendency not be accepted into the ministry or the consecrated life. Ministry or consecrated life is not your place. To the priests, religious men and women homosexuals, we must urge them to live fully celibacy and, above all, to be exquisitely responsible, trying not to scandalize neither their communities nor the holy faithful people of God living a double life.
It is better that they leave the ministry or their consecrated life rather than live a double life....
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON"DRUGS AND ADDICTIONS: AN OBSTACLE TO INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT"
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON"DRUGS AND ADDICTIONS: AN OBSTACLE TO INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT"
Saturday, 1 December 2018
Saturday, 1 December 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am pleased to receive you at the conclusion of this International Congress on Drugs and Addictions. I offer all of you a cordial greeting and I thank Cardinal Turkson for his words of introduction to our meeting.
In these days, you have discussed issues and problems linked to the troubling phenomenon of narcotics and other forms of addiction, old and new, which pose an obstacle to integral human development. Communities everywhere are challenged by current social and cultural changes and by pathologies derived from a secularized climate marked by consumerist capitalism, self-sufficiency, a loss of values, an existential void, and a weakening of bonds and relationships. Drug addiction, as has often been pointed out, is an open wound in our society; its victims, once ensnared, exchange their freedom for enslavement to a dependency that we can define as chemical.Drug use is gravely harmful to health, human life and society. All of us are called to combat the production, processing and distribution of drugs worldwide. It is the duty and responsibility of governments courageously to undertake this fight against those who deal in death. An area of increasing risk is virtual space; on some Internet sites, young people, and not only the young, are lured into a bondage hard to escape, leading to a loss of life’s meaning and, at times, even of life itself. Faced with this disturbing scenario, the Church senses the urgent need to create in today’s world a form of humanism capable of restoring the human person to the centre of social, economic and cultural life: a humanism grounded in the “Gospel of Mercy”. There the disciples of Jesus find the inspiration for a pastoral action that can prove truly effective in alleviating, caring for and healing the immense suffering associated with different kinds of addiction present in our world.
The Church, together with local, national and international institutions, and various educational agencies, is concretely engaged in every part of the world in combating the spread of addictions, devoting her resources to prevention, care, rehabilitation and reinsertion, in order to restore dignity to those who have lost it. Fighting addictions calls for a combined effort on the part of various local groups and agencies in enacting social programmes promoting health care, family support and especially education. In this regard, I readily support the desire expressed by this Conference for a better coordination of policies aimed at halting the growth of drug abuse and addictions through the creation of networks of solidarity and closeness to those suffering from these pathologies.
Dear brothers and sisters, I express my deep gratitude for your contribution to these days of study and reflection. I encourage all of you, in your various sectors, to pursue your commitment to increasing awareness and offering support to those who have emerged from the tunnel of drug addiction and various addictions. They need our help and accompaniment, so that they in turn will be able to ease the pain of so many our brothers and sisters in difficulty.
I entrust your efforts and your worthy initiatives to the intercession of Our Lady, Health of the Infirm. I ask you, please, to remember me in your prayers. To all of you, and to your families and communities, I cordially impart my blessing. Thank you.
Pope Francis "I wish you to experience Advent as a time of consoling news and joyous waiting. " FULL TEXT
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PILGRIMS OF THE DIOCESES OF UGENTO-SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA
Paul VI Hall
Saturday, 1 December 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
I thank you for coming, so enthusiastic, so joyful. Thank you! I am grateful to Mons. Vito Angiuli and Mons. Domenico Cornacchia for the words that addressed me in your name. And also thanks to the bread: a nice bread, to make a sandwich!
The memory of Don Tonino Bello has joined our paths: my verse of you in April and your verse of me in these days. I would like to welcome you with a sentence full of affection, which Don Tonino pronounced at the end of the last Chrism Mass, just before living his Easter: «I would like to say one by one looking him in the eyes:" I love you "». And this is our way of life: brothers and sisters who, looking into their eyes, know how to say "I love you".
On that occasion Don Tonino made a recommendation. He said: "I beg you, tomorrow, do not be sorry for any bitterness of your home or any other bitterness. Do not grieve your life ". Those who believe in Jesus can not be sad; «The opposite of a Christian people is a sad people» (The Gospel of Courage, 2012, 145). We make our own the recommendation not to ever be sorry: if we put it into practice we will bring the treasure of God's joy into the poverty of the man of today. In fact, those who remain alone remain, talk about all, gossip here and there ... He has a sad heart. The chatty, the chatty, has a sad heart! This is the root. Even here, when they talk, it's because that man, that woman, is sad. In fact, those who contract remain alone, have no friends. Those who contract only see problems, see only the dark side of life. Maybe it's all beautiful, all white, all bright, but he or she sees the stain, sees the shadow, the negative. Sometimes, when I find people like that, they always live sad and criticizing, but it comes to think: "What do you have in your veins? Blood or vinegar? ". Those who put the Lord before the problems find joy again. Then he stops crying and, instead of grumbling, he begins to do the opposite: console, help.
Dear brothers and sisters, tonight begins a time of consolation and hope, the time of Advent: a new liturgical year begins, which brings with it the novelty of our God, who is the "God of all consolation" (2 Cor 1,3 ). If we look inside, we see that all the news, even those of today's continuous revenue, are not enough to satisfy our expectations. We always remain hungry, at this rate, of novelty, news ... And it does not satisfy you. "We tend to new things because we are born for great things," wrote Don Tonino (There is no loyalty without risk, 2000, 34). And it is true: we are born to be with the Lord. When we let God in, the real news comes. He renews, displaces, always surprises: he is the God of surprises. To live Advent is to "opt for the unpublished", for the new, is to accept the good havoc of God and his prophets, as was also Don Tonino. For him to welcome the Lord means to be available to change our plans (see ibid., 102). I like to think of Saint Joseph. He, a good man, fell asleep and changed his plans. He fell asleep again, and they still changed his plans. He goes to Egypt, falls asleep again, and returns from Egypt ... May God change our plans with our joy!
It is beautiful to await the novelty of God in life: not to live by expectations, which then maybe do not come true, but live on hold, that is to desire the Lord who always brings newness. Always! He never repeats. It is important to know how to wait. God does not wait with hands in hand, but active in love. "True sadness - recalled Don Tonino - is when you do not wait for anything from life" (Cyrene of Joy, 2004, 97). This is bad! Being dead in life, do not wait for anything from life. We Christians are called to preserve and spread the joy of waiting: we await God who loves us infinitely and at the same time we are awaited by Him. In this way, life becomes a great engagement. We are not left to ourselves, we are not alone. We are visited, already now. Today you came to me, I was waiting for you and I thank you, but God will visit you where I can not come: in your homes, in your lives. God visits us and waits to stay with us forever. Today, tomorrow, tomorrow, always. If you throw it away, the Lord remains at the door, waiting, waiting for you to let him enter again. We never drive the Lord from our life! He is always waiting to be with us.
I wish you to experience Advent as a time of consoling news and joyous waiting. "Here on earth is the man who awaits the return of the Lord. Up there in the sky is the Lord who awaits the return of man ". This is nice! God also waits for us to go there. Here is the Advent time. This is how Don Tonino spoke about it thirty years ago, commenting on the Gospel that we will hear this Sunday with words that seem written today. He noted that life is full of fear: "fear of one's neighbor. Fear of the neighbor ... Fear of the other ... Fear of violence ... Fear of not making it. Fear of not being accepted ... Fear that it is useless to commit oneself. Fear that, so much, the world can not change it ... Fear of not finding a job "(Homily, November 27, 1988). To this gloomy scenario, he used to say that Advent responds with "the Gospel of anti-Agora". Because while those who are afraid are on the ground, broken down, the Lord with his word solves. He does so through the "two verbs of the antiaura, the two verbs typical of Advent": stand up and raise your head (cf. Lk 21: 28). If fear makes you lie on the ground, the Lord invites you to get up; if negativity pushes to look down, Jesus invites us to turn our gaze to heaven, from where He will come. Because we are not children of fear, but children of God; because fear is defeated by winning with Jesus the withdrawal on oneself: going beyond this withdrawal.
You know the beauty of the sea well - your sea is beautiful! I tell you one thing: it is the bluest sea I have seen in my life. Beautiful! This sea embraces you in its grandeur. Looking at it, you can think of the meaning of life: embraced by God, infinite beauty, it can not remain anchored to safe harbors, but it is called to take off, always. The Lord calls each of us to go out into the open sea. It does not take controllers of the pier or guardians of the lighthouse, but confident and courageous sailors, who follow the unprecedented routes of the Lord, throwing the nets of life on his word. A "private" life, without risks and full of fear, which safeguards itself, is not a Christian life. It is a life without fruitfulness. We are not meant for peaceful dreams, but for daring dreams. Then we welcome the invitation of the Gospel, the invitation so often repeated by Don Tonino to stand up, to get up. From where? From the sofas of life: from the comfort that makes you lazy, from the mundanity that makes you sick inside, from the self-pity that darkens. "To rise up means to abandon the floor of wickedness, of violence, of ambiguity, because sin ages the earth" (ibid.). Stand up, we look up to the sky. We will also warn of the need to open our hands to others. And the consolation that we will be able to give will heal our fears.
Before giving you the blessing I would like to greet you with some words of hope, those of the last very short "homily" that Don Tonino spoke from his bed, waiting for Jesus: "My Lord and my God! I too want to see the Risen Lord and be a source of hope and joy for all. My Lord and my God! » So be it for us too. Thank you.
George H. W. Bush, as the 41st President (1989-1993), has died on November 30, 2018. In the White House he tried to make the United States “a kinder and gentler nation” .
Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1924. On his 18th birthday he enlisted in the armed forces. As a pilot he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action.
In January 1945 he married Barbara Pierce. They had six children– George, Robin (who died as a child), John (known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. They were married for 73 years. Barbara died on April 17, 2018.
He studied at Yale University and afterwards Bush embarked on a career in the oil industry of West Texas.
George became interested in public service and politics. He served two terms as a Representative to Congress from Texas. Then he was appointed to a series of high-level positions: Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U. S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was Vice-President under Ronald Regan. In 1988 Bush won the Republican nomination for President and, with Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana as his running mate.
Bush suffered from vascular parkinsonism, a type of Parkinson's disease. Bush died on November 30, 2018, aged 94, at his home in Houston.
He was a faithful Christian Episcopalian.
Pope Francis says "Get used to talking with your angel..." to 62 Polish children from Cancer Centre at Vatican
GREETING OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO CHILDREN OF THE CLINIC OF ONCOLOGY IN WROCLAW (POLAND)
Friday, November 30th 2018
Thanks for your visit! I'm glad to see you and to greet you. Thank you very much.
Your journey in life is a bit difficult, dear children, because you have to treat yourself, overcome the disease or live with the disease: this is not easy. But you have many friends, many friends who help you so much. And your family members also help you move forward. Think this well: there is no difficulty in life that can not be won. Victory is different for each person: everyone wins in his own way, but always winning is the ideal, it is the horizon to move forward. Do not be discouraged.
And then, another thing: to each of us the Lord has given a guardian angel, since we are young until we are elderly. The Lord has given him to help us in life. Each of you has his own. Get used to talking with your angel, to keep you, to inspire you and to lead you to always win in life.
And to you that you accompany these children: thank you! Thank you for taking care of these children, helping them to grow.
You have seen that you are very important, because to listen and talk with the Pope you need two interpreters: you are important!
Now I would like to give you the blessing and then say hello to you; but first let us pray to Our Lady, the Hail Mary in Polish:
[Ave Maria, …]
January 24, 1540, London
December 1, 1581, Tyburn, England
October 25, 1970 by Pope Paul VI
English Jesuit and martyr; he was the son and namesake of a Catholic bookseller, and was born in London, 25 Jan., 1540; executed at Tyburn, 1 Dec., 1581. A city company sent the promising child to a grammar school and to Christ Church Hospital. When Mary Tudor entered London in state as queen, he was the schoolboy chosen to give the Latin salutatory to her majesty. Sir Thomas White, lord mayor, who built and endowed St. John's College at Oxford, accepted Campion as one of his first scholars, appointed him junior fellow at seventeen, and, dying, gave him his last messages for his academic family. Campion shone at Oxford in 1560, when he delivered one oration at the reburial of Amy Robsart, and another at the funeral of the founder of his own college; and for twelve years he was to be followed and imitated as no man ever was in an English university except himself and Newman. He took both his degrees, and became a celebrated tutor, and, by 1568, junior proctor. Queen Elizabeth had visited Oxford two years before; she and Dudley, then chancellor, won by Campion's bearing, beauty, and wit, bade him ask for what he would. Successes, local responsibilities, and allurements, his natural ease of disposition, the representations, above all, of his friend Bishop Cheyney of Gloucester, blinded Campion in regard to his course as a Catholic: he took the Oath of Supremacy, and deacon's orders according to the new rite. Afterthoughts developing into scruples, scruples into anguish, he broke off his happy Oxford life when his proctorship ended, and betook himself to Ireland, to await the reopening of Dublin University, an ancient papal foundation temporarily extinct. Sir Henry Sidney, the lord deputy, was interested in Campion's future as well as in the revival which, however, fell through. With Philip Sidney, then a boy, Campion was to have a touching interview in 1577.
As too Catholic minded an Anglican, Campion was suspected, and exposed to danger. Hidden in friendly houses, he composed his treatise called "A History of Ireland" Written from an English standpoint it gave much offence to the native Irish, and was severely criticized, in the next century, by Geoffrey Keating In his Irish history of Ireland. Urged to further effort by the zeal of Gregory Martin, he crossed to England in disguise and under an assumed name, reaching London in time to witness the trial of one of the earliest Oxonian martyrs, Dr. John Storey. Campion now recognized his vocation and hastened to the seminary at Douai. Cecil lamented to Richard Stanihurst the expatriation of "one of the diamonds of England" At Douai Campion remained for his theological course and its lesser degree, but then set out as a barefoot pilgrim to Rome, arriving there just before the death of St. Francis Borgia; " for I meant", as he said at his examination, "to enter into the Society of Jesus, thereof to vow and to be professed". This he accomplished promptly in April (1573), being the first novice received by Mercurianus, the fourth general. As the English province was as yet non-existent, he was allotted to that of Bohemia, entering on his noviceship at Prague and passing his probation year at Brunn in Moravia. Returning to Prague, he taught in the college and wrote a couple of sacred dramas; and there he was ordained in 1578. Meanwhile, Dr. Allen was organizing the apostolic work of the English Mission, and rejoiced to secure Fathers Robert Parsons and Edmund Campion as his first Jesuit helpers. In the garden at Brunn, Campion had had a vision, in which Our Lady foretold to him his martyrdom. Comrades at Prague were moved to make a scroll for P. Edmundus Campianus Martyr, and to paint a prophetic garland of roses within his cell. Parsons and Campion set out from Rome, had many adventures, and called upon St. Charles Borromeo in Milan, and upon Beza in Geneva. Campion was met in London, and fitly clothed, armed, and mounted by a devoted young convert friend. His office was chiefly to reclaim Catholics who were wavering or temporizing under the pressure of governmental tyranny; but his zeal to win Protestants, his preaching, his whole saintly and soldierly personality, made a general and profound impression. An alarm was raised and he fled to the North, where he fell again to writing and produced his famous tract, the "Decem Rationes". He returned to London, only to withdraw again, this time towards Norfolk. A spy, a former steward of the Roper family, one George Eliot, was hot upon his track, and ran him and others down at Lyford Grange near Wantage in Berkshire on 17 July, 1581.
Amid scenes of violent excitement, Campion was derisively paraded through the streets of his native city, bound hand and foot, riding backwards, with a paper stuck in his hat to denote the " seditious Jesuit". First thrown into Little Ease at the Tower, he was carried privately to the house of his old patron, the Earl of Leicester; there he encountered the queen herself, and received earnest proffers of liberty and preferments would he but forsake his papistry. Hopton having tried in vain the same blandishments, on Campion's return to the Tower, the priest was then examined under torture, and was reported to have betrayed those who had harboured him. Several arrests were made on the strength of the lie. He had asked for a public disputation. But when it came off in the Norman chapel of the Tower, before the Dean of St. Paul's and other divines, Campion had been denied opportunity to prepare his debate, and had been severely racked. Thus weakened, he stood through the four long conferences, without chair, table, or notes, and stood undefeated. Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, who was looking on in the flush of worldly pride, became thereby inspired to return to God's service. The privy council, at its wits' end over so purely spiritual a "traitor", hatched a plot to impeach Campion's loyalty, and called in the hirelings Eliot and Munday as accusers. A ridiculous trial ensued in Westminster Hall, 20 Nov., 1581. Campion, pleading not guilty, was quite unable to hold up his often-wrenched right arm, seeing which, a fellow prisoner, first kissing it, raised it for him. He made a magnificent defence. But the sentence was death, by hanging, drawing, and quartering: a sentence received by the martyrs with a joyful shout of Haec dies and Te Deum. Campion, with Sherwin and Briant, who were on a separate hurdle, was dragged to Tyburn on 1 December. Passing Newgate arch, he lifted himself as best he could to salute the statue of Our Lady still in situ. On the scaffold, when interrupted and taunted to express his mind concerning the Bull of Plus V excommunicating Elizabeth, he answered only by a prayer for her, "your Queen and my Queen". He was a Catholic Englishman with political opinions which were not Allen's, though he died, as much as ever Felton did, for the primacy of the Holy See. The people loudly lamented his fate; and another great harvest of conversions began. A wild, generous-hearted youth, Henry Walpole, standing by, got his white doublet stained with Campion's blood; the incident made him, too, in time, a Jesuit and a martyr.
Historians of all schools are agreed that the charges against Campion were wholesale sham. They praise his high intelligence, his beautiful gaiety, his fiery energy, his most chivalrous gentleness. He had renounced all opportunity for a dazzling career in a world of master men. Every tradition of Edmund Campion, every remnant of his written words, and not least his unstudied golden letters, show us that he was nothing less than a man of genius; truly one of the great Elizabethans, but holy as none other of them all. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 9 December, 1886, and canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Relics of him are preserved in Rome and Prague, in London, Oxford, Stonyhurst, and Roehampton. A not very convincing portrait was made soon after his death for the Gesù in Rome under the supervision of many who had known him. Of this there is a copy in oils at Stonyhurst, and a brilliantly engraved print in Hazart's "Kerckelycke Historie" (Antwerp, 1669), Vol. III (Enghelandt, etc.), though not in every copy of that now scarce work.
SOURCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia
Pope Francis to Volunteers "...you volunteers...contribute to giving a human and Christian face to our society." FULL TEXT
AT THE SERVICE CENTER FOR VOLUNTEERING "SOLIDARIAN SARDINIA"
Paul VI Hall
Friday, November 30th 2018
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am pleased to meet with you, representatives of the Service Center for Volunteer Solidarity Sardinia, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of its foundation, accompanied by Cardinal Angelo Becciu, together with the Archbishops of Cagliari, Mgr. Arrigo Miglio, and of Oristano, Mons Ignazio Sanna. To all I address my cordial greeting, with a deferential thought for the Authorities, in particular for the President of the Sardinia Region, Mr Francesco Pigliaru. I thank the president of Sardegna Solidale, Giampiero Farru, for the words with which he introduced this meeting.
You represent the multitude of Sardinian volunteers, who work for a generous and necessary service to the last, in a territory - that of your beautiful island - rich in natural treasures, history and art, but also marked by poverty and unease. I would like to express my appreciation for what you have done and are working for the benefit of the weakest sections of the Sardinian population, with a focus on some of the poorest countries in the world. This should be emphasized, because it is a sign that you are not "isolated" but, despite the great needs of your home, you have kept open the horizon of your solidarity. In this perspective, you have been able to welcome and include those who have arrived in Sardinia from other lands in search of peace and work.
Your associative reality gathers numerous voluntary organizations, carrying out a considerable service of aggregation and cooperation, aimed at making more qualified and effective the commitment in favor of those who are in precarious conditions. I encourage you to continue with a spirit of understanding and unity; in this way you will be able to spread the culture of solidarity more capillarily. In order to interpret the authentic needs of the people and find adequate responses to them, it is necessary to maintain an attitude of collaboration with the institutional realities of the territory: I am thinking in particular of the Municipalities and Parishes, who are daily close to the people sharing their labors and hopes.
The culture of solidarity and gratuitousness qualifies volunteerism and concretely contributes to the construction of a fraternal society, at the center of which is the human person. In your land this culture draws abundantly from the strong Christian roots, that is, the love of God and the love of neighbor. Jesus, in the Gospel, invites us to love God with our whole heart and neighbor as ourselves (cf. Mk 12:29). It is the love of God that always makes us recognize the neighbor, the brother or sister to love. And this requires personal and voluntary commitment, for which public institutions can and must create favorable general conditions. Thanks to this evangelical "sap", help maintains its human dimension and is not depersonalized. Precisely for this reason you volunteers do not perform a work of substitution in the social network, but contribute to giving a human and Christian face to our society.
The voluntary service of solidarity is a choice that makes free and open to the needs of the other; to the demands of justice, to the defense of life, to the protection of creation, with a tender and special attention for the sick and above all for the elderly, who are a treasure of wisdom!
I encourage you to pursue your mission with passion, seeking all possible and constructive forms to awaken in public opinion the need to work for the common good, in support of the weak and the poor. Today there is a great need for witnesses of goodness, tenderness and gratuitous love. There is a need for persevering people, who face difficulties with a spirit of unity and always placing at the base of all their ultimate goal, that is, service to others. By doing so, you will continue to be a reference point and an example for Sardinia as a whole.
May the Virgin Mary assist you and support you, which the Sardinian people venerate with love in so many shrines; you inspire strength and confidence in God to always be a gift to others. I warmly bless all of you and your loved ones, and I ask you to please pray for me. Thank you.