Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pope Francis "With Jesus, joy is part of the home.” Gaudete Angelus Text/Video

Pope Francis addresses the crowds during the weekly Angelus address. - AFP
14/12/2014 03:54

(Vatican Radio) An especially large crowd filled St Peter’s Square on Sunday for the papal blessing of the Baby Jesus figurines for the Nativity scenes that are the centre of traditional Italian Christmas decorations. The annual tradition takes place on the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as “Gaudete” Sunday from the first words of the prayers of the day’s Mass.
The Latin word “Gaudete,” meaning “rejoice” gave the Pope the inspiration for his remarks ahead of the Angelus prayer. “In this third Sunday,” he said, “the liturgy proposes to us an interior attitude with which to live this waiting for the Lord: that is, ‘joy,’ the joy of Jesus.” Pointing to a sign in the crowd, the Holy Father said, “With Jesus, joy is part of the home” (It: Con Gesù, la gioia è di casa). It was a phrase Pope Francis would return to throughout his remarks.
“The heart of every person desires  joy… All of us desire joy, every family, every people aspires to happiness,” he continued. The Christian, he said, is called to live and to witness to the joy that comes from the nearness of God, from God’s presence in our life. Christian joy is not simply the fullness of joy that we will experience in heaven, the Pope said. Rather, it begins even in this life, it is experienced even now, “because Jesus is our joy, our home with Jesus is our joy.” He asked the crowd to say with him “With Jesus, joy is part of the home.”
Pope Francis said all Christians are called to welcome God’s presence in their lives, and to help others discover that presence, or to re-discover it if they have forgotten it. He called this “a beautiful mission, similar to that of John the Baptist: to orient people to Christ… because he is the goal toward which the heart of each person tends when it seeks joy and happiness.”
Turning to the readings of the day, the Holy Father said that St Paul shows us the conditions for being “missionaries of joy”: to pray with perseverance, to always give thanks to God, to seek what is good and avoid what is evil. “If this is our way of life,” he said, “the Good News would be able to enter into so many homes and help people and families to rediscover that in Jesus there is salvation.” In Jesus, he said, we find the inner peace and the strength to face the situations we find ourselves in each day – even in times of difficulty. “The Christian is a person who has a heart filled with peace because he knows to place his joy in the Lord, even when he is going through difficult moments in life.” Pope Francis said that having the faith doesn’t mean there won’t be difficult moments in our life; rather, it means “having the strength to confront them knowing that we are not alone.” God is present in our lives, “and this is the peace that God gives to His children.”
As Christmas approaches, the Pope said in conclusion, “the Church invites us to bear witness that Jesus is not a person of the past; He is the Word of God who today continues to illuminate the journey of humankind; His actions – the Sacraments – are the manifestation of the tenderness, of the consolation, and of the love of the Father for every human being.”

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Pope Francis welcomes Children for Bambinelli Blessing on Gaudete Sunday - Traditional Blessing of Baby Jesus figurines

(Vatican Radio) At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis welcomed the children of Rome for the traditional “Bambinelli Blessing.” On Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Lent, Roman boys and girls bring the baby Jesus from their Nativity sets to Saint Peter’s Square to be blessed by the Pope.
Speaking after the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father thanked the children for coming, and wished them a happy Christmas. He asked them to remember to pray for him when they said their prayers before their Nativity set, and assured them that he prayed for them, too. “Prayer is the breath of the soul,” he said. “ It is important to find moments throughout the day to open the heart to God, even with the short and simple prayers of the Christian people.”
Pope Francis also surprised the children, and all those present, with the gift of a small pocket prayer book “that gathers together some prayer for the various moments of the day and for different situations in life.” He asked them to always carry their prayerbook with them, as an aid to living the whole day “united to God.” Fifty thousand prayerbooks, produced by the Office of Papal Charities and published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (the Vatican publishing house), were distributed to those gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus. Also following the Angelus, Poe Francis greeted pilgrims from Italy and around the world. He mentioned in particular pilgrims from Poland, saying “I unite myself spiritually to their fellow citizens who today are lighting the ‘Christmas Candle,’ and I re-affirm the duty of solidarity, especially in this ‘Year of Charity’ which is being celebrated in Poland.”

Wow Pope Francis sends Christmas greetings to Prisoners - "May the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary keep you under her maternal mantle."

Pope Francis prays at St Mary Major on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In a letter dated December 8, the Holy Father sent his best wishes for a happy Christmas to prisoners at a correctional facility outside of Rome. - ANSA
14/12/2014 11:39

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has written a letter to prisoners at a correctional facility in the Italian district of Latina, assuring them of his spiritual closeness and his prayers during the Christmas season.
In his letter, addressed to the Chaplain Don Nicola Cupaiolo, Pope Francis said that he hoped that the time spent in the facility would not be seen as “time lost,” but rather “as a further occasion for genuine growth in order to find peace of heart and the strength to be reborn, a return to living the hope in the Lord who never disappoints.”
The Holy Father included with his letter the gift of a new Missal, with the hope that those in the facility “might discover in the Holy Mass the track of the daily journey with the Lord, who is the efficacious physician of your wounds, the faithful friend of each day, and the necessary nourishment to sustain you in that journey of salvation and liberation that not even prison bars can impede.”
Pope Francis assured the prisoners that he was close to them and to their families, and asked them to pray for him, too.
The correctional facility is in the Diocese of Terracina-Latina-Sezze-Privett, just outside Rome. Its Bishop, Mariano Crusade, expressed his “joy and gratitude” for the gesture of the “exquisite attention of the Holy Father” for the 120 detainees of the facility, including more than 30 women held in the maximum security for crimes relating to terrorism and organized crime.
Below, please find the complete text of Pope Francis letter to inmates at the correctional facility in Latina: 
Dearest friends at the Casa circondariale di Latina,
Peace in Christ,
First of all, I would like to ask you to forgive me if I have not responded earlier to so many of you who have written to me. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to do everything one would like to do.
I am particularly happy that this reaches you a few days before one of the feasts that is most dear to us: the Holy Nativity, the birth of Jesus – that Jesus who desires nothing else than to be born in the crib of the each of our hearts!
With the best wishes of a happy Christmas to all of you, I hope that the hours, the days, the months, and the years you have passed or are passing in this “Casa circondariale di Latina” would be seen and experienced not as time lost, or as a temporary punishment, but as a further occasion for genuine growth in order to find peace of heart and the strength to be reborn, a return to living the hope in the Lord who never disappoints.
I am pleased to know that many of you are following a path of faith with the Chaplain Don Nicola, and with the many people who collaborate in being close to you, not only on account of the duties of [their] office but through an interior readiness to sincerely consider you sisters and brothers. I encourage you to continue this journey with perseverance and heartfelt gratitude for all the people that are helping you to follow it.
For this reason, I include with this letter the gift of a new Missal, that you might discover in the Holy Mass the track of the daily journey with the Lord, who is the efficacious physician of your wounds, the faithful friend of each day, and the necessary nourishment to sustain you in that journey of salvation and liberation that not even prison bars can impede.
Dearest friends, be assured that I am close to you and I pray for you, asking the Lord to console you with His peace and His sweet presence. I am close also to your families and to all those who are dear to you. I ask you to tell them that I think of them and that I bless them.
May the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, fill you with the joy of His Nativity, and reward all those who are close to you: the staff, the volunteers, and your Director. May the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary keep you under her maternal mantle.
And please, pray for me!
Vatican City, 8 December 2014