Thursday, September 24, 2015

#PopeFrancis at #Vespers in #USA with Religious in #NewYork - Video -

Local Time(Thursday 24 September):18.30/19.30-Pope Francis celebrates Vespers with Clergy, Men and Women Religious in New York, on the occasion of his apostolic visit to the United States.
FULL TEXT Please find below an English translation of the Pope’s homily at Vespers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York:
“There is a cause for rejoicing here”, although “you may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials” (1 Pet 1:6). These words of the Apostle remind us of something essential. Our vocation is to be lived in joy.
This beautiful Cathedral of Saint Patrick, built up over many years through the sacrifices of many men and women, can serve as a symbol of the work of generations of American priests and religious, and lay faithful who helped build up the Church in the United States. In the field of education alone, how many priests and religious in this country played a central role, assisting parents in handing on to their children the food that nourishes them for life! Many did so at the cost of extraordinary sacrifice and with heroic charity. I think for example of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, who founded the first free Catholic school for girls in America, or Saint John Neumann, the founder of the first system of Catholic education in the United States.
This evening, my brothers and sisters, I have come to join you in prayer that our vocations will continue to build up the great edifice of God’s Kingdom in this country. I know that, as a presbyterate in the midst of God’s people, you suffered greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the Church in the most vulnerable of her members… In the words of the Book of Revelation, I know well that you “have come forth from the great tribulation” (Rev 7:14). I accompany you at this time of pain and difficulty, and I thank God for your faithful service to his people. In the hope of helping you to persevere on the path of fidelity to Jesus Christ, I would like to offer two brief reflections. The first concerns the spirit of gratitude. The joy of men and women who love God attracts others to him; priests and religious are called to find and radiate lasting satisfaction in their vocation. Joy springs from a grateful heart. Truly, we have received much, so many graces, so many blessings, and we rejoice in this. It will do us good to think back on our lives with the grace of remembrance. Remembrance of when we were first called, remembrance of the road travelled, remembrance of graces received… and, above all, remembrance of our encounter with Jesus Christ so often along the way. Remembrance of the amazement which our encounter with Jesus Christ awakens in our hearts. To seek the grace of remembrance so as to grow in the spirit of gratitude. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves: are we good at counting our blessings? A second area is the spirit of hard work. A grateful heart is spontaneously impelled to serve the Lord and to find expression in a life of commitment to our work. Once we come to realize how much God has given us, a life of self-sacrifice, of working for him and for others, becomes a privileged way of responding to his great love.
Yet, if we are honest, we know how easily this spirit of generous self-sacrifice can be dampened. There are a couple of ways that this can happen; both are examples of that “spiritual worldliness” which weakens our commitment to serve and diminishes the wonder of our first encounter with Christ.
We can get caught up measuring the value of our apostolic works by the standards of efficiency, good management and outward success which govern the business world. Not that these things are unimportant! We have been entrusted with a great responsibility, and God’s people rightly expect accountability from us. But the true worth of our apostolate is measured by the value it has in God’s eyes. To see and evaluate things from God’s perspective calls for constant conversion in the first days and years of our vocation and, need I say, great humility. The cross shows us a different way of measuring success. Ours is to plant the seeds: God sees to the fruits of our labors. And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus… and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross
Another danger comes when we become jealous of our free time, when we think that surrounding ourselves with worldly comforts will help us serve better. The problem with this reasoning is that it can blunt the power of God’s daily call to conversion, to encounter with him. Slowly but surely, it diminishes our spirit of sacrifice, renunciation and hard work. It also alienates people who suffer material poverty and are forced to make greater sacrifices than ourselves. Rest is needed, as are moments of leisure and self-enrichment, but we need to learn how to rest in a way that deepens our desire to serve with generosity. Closeness to the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, the sick, the exploited, the elderly living alone, prisoners and all God’s other poor, will teach us a different way of resting, one which is more Christian and generous. Gratitude and hard work: these are two pillars of the spiritual life which I have wanted to share with you this evening. I thank you for prayers and work, and the daily sacrifices you make in the various areas of your apostolate. Many of these are known only to God, but they bear rich fruit for the life of the Church. In a special way I would like to express my esteem and gratitude to the religious women of the United States. What would the Church be without you? Women of strength, fighters, with that spirit of courage which puts you in the front lines in the proclamation of the Gospel. To you, religious women, sisters and mothers of this people, I wish to say “thank you”, a big thank you… and to tell you that I love you very much.
I know that many of you are in the front lines in meeting the challenges of adapting to an evolving pastoral landscape. Whatever difficulties and trials you face, I ask you, like Saint Peter, to be at peace and to respond to them as Christ did: he thanked the Father, took up his cross and looked forward!
Dear brothers and sisters, in a few moments we will sing the Magnificat. Let us commend to Our Lady the work we have been entrusted to do; let us join her in thanking God for the great things he has done, and for the great things he will continue to do in us and in those whom we have the privilege to serve.

#PopeFrancis "Jesus keeps knocking on our doors, the doors of our lives." to #Homeless FULL TEXT/Video

Washington D.C., Pope Francis met the homeless at the parish of St Patrick in the City, founded in 1794
Below please find the prepared text of Pope Francis’ words to the homeless in Washington D.C.
Meeting with the Homeless at Saint Patrick in the City, Washington
Below please find the prepared text of Pope Francis’ words to the homeless in Washington D.C. Meeting with the Homeless at Saint Patrick in the City, Washington Dear Friends,
The first word I wish to say to you is “Thank you”. Thank you for welcoming me and for your efforts to make this meeting possible. Here I think of a person whom I love, someone who is, and has been, very important throughout my life. He has been a support and an inspiration. He is the one I go to whenever I am “in a fix”. You make me think of Saint Joseph. Your faces remind me of his. Joseph had to face some difficult situations in his life. One of them was the time when Mary was about to give birth, to have Jesus. The Bible tells us that, “while they were [in Bethlehem], the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Lk 2:6-7). The Bible is very clear about this: there was no room for them. I can imagine Joseph, with his wife about to have a child, with no shelter, no home, no place to stay. The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person. The Son of God knew what it was to start life without a roof over his head. We can imagine what Joseph must have been thinking. How is it that the Son of God has no home? Why are we homeless, why don’t we have housing? These are questions which many of you may ask daily. Like Saint Joseph, you may ask: Why are we homeless, without a place to live? These are questions which all of us might well ask. Why do these, our brothers and sisters, have no place to live? Why are these brothers and sisters of ours homeless?
Joseph’s questions are timely even today; they accompany all those who throughout history have been, and are, homeless. Joseph was someone who asked questions. But first and foremost, he was a man of faith. Faith gave Joseph the power to find light just at the moment when everything seemed dark. Faith sustained him amid the troubles of life. Thanks to faith, Joseph was able to press forward when everything seemed to be holding him back.
In the face of unjust and painful situations, faith brings us the light which scatters the darkness. As it did for Joseph, faith makes us open to the quiet presence of God at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation. God is present in every one of you, in each one of us.
We can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing. There are many unjust situations, but we know that God is suffering with us, experiencing them at our side. He does not abandon us. We know that Jesus wanted to show solidarity with every person. He wanted everyone to experience his companionship, his help, his love. He identified with all those who suffer, who weep, who suffer any kind of injustice. He tells us this clearly: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35).
Faith makes us know that God is at our side, that God is in our midst and his presence spurs us to charity. Charity is born of the call of a God who continues to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another. Jesus keeps knocking on our doors, the doors of our lives. He doesn’t do this by magic, with special effects, with flashing lights and fireworks. Jesus keeps knocking on our door in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the faces of our neighbors, in the faces of those at our side.
Dear friends, one of the most effective ways we have to help is that of prayer. Prayer unites us; it makes us brothers and sisters. It opens our hearts and reminds us of a beautiful truth which we sometimes forget. In prayer, we all learn to say “Father”, “Dad”. We learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. In prayer, there are no rich and poor people, there are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. In prayer, there is no first or second class, there is brotherhood. It is in prayer that our hearts find the strength not to be cold and insensitive in the face of injustice. In prayer, God keeps calling us, opening our hearts to charity.
How good it is for us to pray together. How good it is to encounter one another in this place where we see one another as brothers and sisters, where we realize that we need one another. Today I want to be one with you. I need your support, your closeness. I would like to invite you to pray together, for one another, with one another. That way we can keep helping one another to experience the joy of knowing that Jesus is in our midst. Are you ready?
Our Father, who art in heaven… Before leaving you, I would like to give you God’s blessing: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace (Num 6:24-26). And, please, don’t forget to pray for me.

#PopeFrancis "....the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face." Address to #Congress FULLTEXT/Video

Pope Francis addressing the U.S. Congress - AP
Pope Francis addressing the U.S. Congress - AP
24/09/2015 17:00

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday (24th September) made history by becoming the first Pope ever to address a joint session of the United States Congress. In his wide-ranging address that was frequently interrupted by applause, the Pope touched on many themes including the need for politics to serve the common good, the importance of cooperation and solidarity, the dangers of fundamentalism, the refugee crisis, abolition of the death penalty, the need for courageous acts to avert environmental deterioration, the evils of the arms trade and threats to the family from within and without. During his speech he also mentioned four great Americans from the past, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, saying that each of them helped build a better future for the people of the U.S.

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ address to the Joint Session of the United States Congress:

Mr. Vice-President,
Mr. Speaker,
Honorable Members of Congress,
Dear Friends,
                I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.  I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.
                Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation.  You are the face of its people, their representatives.  You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.  A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people.  To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.
                Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses.  On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation.  On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being.  Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.
                Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time – to build a better life for their families.  These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society.  They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need. 
                I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights.  I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land.  I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults.  I wish to dialogue with all of you, and I would like to do so through the historical memory of your people.
                My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans.  The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self-sacrifice – some at the cost of their lives – to build a better future.  They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people.  A people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity.   These men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality.  In honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves.
                I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.
                This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”.  Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.
                All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today.  Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion.  We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism.  This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind.  A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms.  But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners.  The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps.  We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within.  To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.  That is something which you, as a people, reject.
                Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice.  We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises.  Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent.  Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples.  We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.
                The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States.  The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.
                In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society.  It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society.  Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.
                Here I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people.  All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776).  If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance.  Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.  I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.
                Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his “dream” of full civil and political rights for African Americans.  That dream continues to inspire us all.  I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of “dreams”.  Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment.  Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.
                In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom.  We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.  I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants.  Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected.  For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation.  Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present.  Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past.  We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.  Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best.  I am confident that we can do this.
                Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.  This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions.  On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities.  Is this not what we want for our own children?  We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.  To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal.  We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome.  Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).
                This Rule points us in a clear direction.  Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated.  Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves.  Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves.  In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.  The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.  The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.
                This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty.  I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes.  Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty.  Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.
                In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement.  Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.
                How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world!  How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty!  I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost.  At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty.  They too need to be given hope.  The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.  I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.
                It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth.  The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable.  “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world.  It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129).  This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (ibid., 3).  “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (ibid., 14).
                In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to “redirect our steps” (ibid., 61), and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.  I am convinced that we can make a difference, I'm sure and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play.  Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a “culture of care” (ibid., 231) and “an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (ibid., 139).  “We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology” (ibid., 112); “to devise intelligent ways of… developing and limiting our power” (ibid., 78); and to put technology “at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (ibid., 112).  In this regard, I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead.
                A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter”, another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton.  He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people.  In his autobiography he wrote: “I came into the world.  Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born.  That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers”.  Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church.  He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.
                From this perspective of dialogue, I would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past.  It is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same.  When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue – a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons – new opportunities open up for all.  This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility.  A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism.  A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 222-223).
                Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world.  Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?  Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.  In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.
                Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God.
                Four representatives of the American people.
                I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families.  It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme.  How essential the family has been to the building of this country!  And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement!  Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without.  Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family.  I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.
                In particular, I would like to call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable, the young.  For many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair.  Their problems are our problems.  We cannot avoid them.  We need to face them together, to talk about them and to seek effective solutions rather than getting bogged down in discussions.  At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future.  Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.
                A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.
                In these remarks I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people.  It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream. 
                God bless America!

#PopeFrancis makes Surpirse visit to #LittleSisters of the Poor

Pope Francis meets with Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington, DC. - ANSA
Pope Francis meets with Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington, DC. - ANSA
24/09/2015 11:45

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday made an unscheduled visit to the convent of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which is near the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where he celebrated the Mass of Canonization of St. Junipero Serra.
The religious order operates several nursing homes and care facilities in the United States.
The congregation is involved in a lawsuit with the Obama Administration over the country’s new health care law. The government is trying to force the religious community to comply with a contraception mandate in the law, which violates Catholic religious beliefs.
“This is a sign, obviously of support for them [in their court case]” said Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, the head of the Holy See Press Office.
“In this sense it is connected also to the words that the Pope has said in support of the Bishops of the United States in the speech to President Obama,” Father Lombardi continued.
“This was a little addition to the programme, but I think it has an important meaning in this moment,” he said.

#PopeFrancis "Rejoice in the Lord always!" Holy Mass of #Canonization FULL TEXT/Video

Pope Francis presides over the Canonization Mass of  new Saint Junipero Serra in Washington, US,  September 23, 2015. - ANSA
Pope Francis presides over the Canonization Mass of new Saint Junipero Serra in Washington, US, September 23, 2015. - ANSA
23/09/2015 19:56

(Vatican Radio) Celebrating his first Mass in the United States on Wednesday, Pope Francis declared a new saint of the United States.  Fr. Junipero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan priest known for starting nine missions in the 18th century in what is today the US state of California, was raised to the glory of the altars during a solemn open-air Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in the US capital, Washington.  Several cardinals and bishops, all in white vestments, joined him at the altar on a state erected specially for the canonization, while many more sat in front of the altar. 
The Pope who is in the US, following his visit to Cuba Sept. 19-22, was accorded a state welcome Wednesday morning, at the Whitehouse in Washington by President Barack Obama, after which he met US bishops in St. Matthew's Cathedral. The canonization rite at the start of the evening Mass included a biography of Fr. Serra and the chanting of the Litany of the Saints.  Pope Francis then pronounced the formula of canonization, officially declaring Junipero Serra a saint.
In his homily, Pope Francis held up the figure of America’s new Saint, Junipero Serra, as a model of one who having experienced the joy of God’s merciful anointing, in turn went out to joyfully proclaim the Good News to all people, leaving behind the security and apathy of his comfort and home. Taking his cue from St. Paul who invited Philippians to “Rejoice in the Lord always,” Pope Francis, delivering the entire homily in Spanish, said the desire for a fulfilling, meaningful and joyful life is something all have in their hearts.  He noted that the struggles of everyday life seems to ‎stand in the way of this invitation to rejoice.  Our daily routine, he said, can often lead us to a kind of glum ‎apathy which gradually becomes a habit, making our hearts grow numb.‎  But against this, Jesus offers us the answer.  He says, “Go forth!  ‎Proclaim!  The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived ‎only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away.‎” “For the source of our joy is “an endless desire to show mercy, the ‎fruit of our own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy,” the Pope stressed.
The Pope said that Jesus intended his Good News for all, embracing life as he saw it, in faces of pain, ‎hunger, sickness and sin, in faces of wounds, of thirst, of weariness, doubt and pity.   He said, Jesus embraced life as he found it, whether dirty, unkempt or broken, and urges us to go out to tell the good news fearlessly, without prejudice, ‎without superiority, without condescension, to all those who have lost the joy of living.  Go out to proclaim the merciful embrace of the Father…who wants to anoint them with the oil of hope, the oil od salvation.
The Pope explained that mission is never the fruit of a perfect planned program, but is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and ‎forgiven.  Mission is born of a constant experience of God’s merciful anointing.‎ In this regard, Pope Francis recalled the Aparecida ‎Document of the Latin American Bishops, saying “life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort.” And one such person who witnessed to the joy of the Gospel in these ‎lands, the Pope said, is Father Junípero Serra.  He was the embodiment of “a Church which goes forth”, a Church ‎which sets out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God.  Junípero Serra left his native ‎land and its way of life, and learned how to bring to birth and ‎nurture God’s life in the faces of everyone he met.  Junípero ‎sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated ‎and abused it.  The Pope said mistreatment and wrongs still trouble us today, especially because of the hurt ‎which they cause in the lives of many people.‎
The Canonization Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was in Latin, Spanish and English, and one of the scripture readings was in a native American ‎language.  The prayer of the faithful was is Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog of the Philippines, Igbo of ‎Nigeria, Criollo and American sign language, symbolizing the rich multi-cultural character that the US is ‎known for. ‎

Below is the prepared text of Pope Francis' homily at the Canonization Mass of St. Junipero Serra in Washington:
Rejoice in the Lord always!  I say it again, rejoice!  These are striking words, words which ‎impact our ‎lives.  Paul tells us to rejoice; he practically orders us to rejoice.  This command resonates ‎with the ‎desire we all have for a fulfilling life, a meaningful life, a joyful life.  It is as if Paul could ‎hear what ‎each one of us is thinking in his or her heart and to voice what we are feeling, what we ‎are experiencing.  ‎Something deep within us invites us to rejoice and tells us not to settle for ‎placebos which simply keep ‎us comfortable.‎
            At the same time, though, we all know the struggles of everyday life.  So much seems to ‎stand ‎in the way of this invitation to rejoice.  Our daily routine can often lead us to a kind of glum ‎apathy ‎which gradually becomes a habit, with a fatal consequence: our hearts grow numb.‎
            We don’t want apathy to guide our lives… or do we?  We don’t want the force of habit to ‎rule ‎our life… or do we?  So we ought to ask ourselves: What can we do to keep our heart from ‎growing ‎numb, becoming anesthetized?  How do we make the joy of the Gospel increase and take ‎deeper root in ‎our lives?‎
            Jesus gives the answer.  He said to his disciples then and he says it to us now: Go ‎forth!  ‎Proclaim!  The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and ‎lived ‎only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away.‎
            The spirit of the world tells us to be like everyone else, to settle for what comes easy.  ‎Faced ‎with this human way of thinking, “we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that ‎we ‎have a shared responsibility for others and for the world” (Laudato Si’, 229).  It is the ‎responsibility ‎to proclaim the message of Jesus.  For the source of our joy is “an endless desire to show ‎mercy, the ‎fruit of our own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy” (Evangelii Gaudium, ‎‎24).  ‎Go out to all, proclaim by anointing and anoint by proclaiming.  This is what the Lord tells us ‎today.  ‎He tells us:‎
            A Christian finds joy in mission: Go out to people of every nation!‎
            A Christian experiences joy in following a command: Go forth and proclaim the good news!‎
            A Christian finds ever new joy in answering a call: Go forth and anoint!‎
            Jesus sends his disciples out to all nations.  To every people.  We too were part of all ‎those ‎people of two thousand years ago.  Jesus did not provide a short list of who is, or is not, worthy ‎of ‎receiving his message, his presence.  Instead, he always embraced life as he saw it.  In faces of ‎pain, ‎hunger, sickness and sin.  In faces of wounds, of thirst, of weariness, doubt and pity.  Far ‎from ‎expecting a pretty life, smartly-dressed and neatly groomed, he embraced life as he found it.  ‎It ‎made no difference whether it was dirty, unkempt, broken.  Jesus said: Go out and tell the ‎good ‎news to everyone.  Go out and in my name embrace life as it is, and not as you think it should ‎be.  ‎Go out to the highways and byways, go out to tell the good news fearlessly, without ‎prejudice, ‎without superiority, without condescension, to all those who have lost the joy of living.  Go ‎out to ‎proclaim the merciful embrace of the Father.  Go out to those who are burdened by pain and ‎failure, ‎who feel that their lives are empty, and proclaim the folly of a loving Father who wants to ‎anoint ‎them with the oil of hope, the oil of salvation.  Go out to proclaim the good news that ‎error, ‎deceitful illusions and falsehoods do not have the last word in a person’s life.  Go out with ‎the ‎ointment which soothes wounds and heals hearts.‎
            Mission is never the fruit of a perfectly planned program or a well-organized manual.  ‎Mission is ‎always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and ‎forgiven.  ‎Mission is born of a constant experience of God’s merciful anointing.‎
            The Church, the holy People of God, treads the dust-laden paths of history, so often ‎traversed ‎by conflict, injustice and violence, in order to encounter her children, our brothers and ‎sisters.  The holy ‎and faithful People of God are not afraid of losing their way; they are afraid of ‎becoming self-enclosed, ‎frozen into élites, clinging to their own security.  They know that self-‎enclosure, in all the many forms it ‎takes, is the cause of so much apathy.‎
            So let us go out, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ (Evangelii ‎Gaudium, ‎‎49).  The People of God can embrace everyone because we are the disciples of the One ‎who knelt ‎before his own to wash their feet (ibid., 24).‎
            The reason we are here today is that many other people wanted to respond to that call.  ‎They ‎believed that “life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort” ‎‎(Aparecida ‎Document, 360).  We are heirs to the bold missionary spirit of so many men and women ‎who ‎preferred not to be “shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security… within ‎habits ‎which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving” (Evangelii Gaudium, 49).  We ‎are ‎indebted to a tradition, a chain of witnesses who have made it possible for the good news of ‎the ‎Gospel to be, in every generation, both “good” and “news”.‎
            Today we remember one of those witnesses who testified to the joy of the Gospel in these ‎lands, ‎Father Junípero Serra.  He was the embodiment of “a Church which goes forth”, a Church ‎which sets ‎out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God.  Junípero Serra left his native ‎land and its ‎way of life.  He was excited about blazing trails, going forth to meet many people, ‎learning and valuing ‎their particular customs and ways of life.  He learned how to bring to birth and ‎nurture God’s life in the ‎faces of everyone he met; he made them his brothers and sisters.  Junípero ‎sought to defend the dignity ‎of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated ‎and abused it.  Mistreatment and ‎wrongs which today still trouble us, especially because of the hurt ‎which they cause in the lives of many ‎people.‎
            Father Serra had a motto which inspired his life and work, a saying he lived his life by: ‎siempre ‎adelante!  Keep moving forward!  For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the ‎joy of the ‎Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb, from being anesthetized.  He kept moving ‎forward, ‎because the Lord was waiting.  He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were ‎waiting.  He kept ‎going forward to the end of his life.  Today, like him, may we be able to say: ‎Forward!  Let’s keep ‎moving forward!‎

Saint September 24 : St. Pacific of San Severino

St. Pacific of San Severino
Feast: September 24
Feast Day:
September 24
1 March 1653 at San Severino
24 September 1721 at San Severino
26 May 1839 by Pope Gregory IX

Born at San Severino, in the March of Ancona, 1 March, 1653; died there 24 September, 1721; the son of Antonio M. Divini and Mariangela Bruni. His parents died soon after his confirmation when three years old; he suffered many hardships until in December, 1670, he took the Franciscan habit in the Order of the Reformati, at Forano, in the March of Ancona, and was ordained on 4 June, 1678, subsequently becoming Lector or Professor of Philosophy (1680-83) for the younger members of the order, after which, for five or six years, he laboured as a missionary among the people of the surrounding country. He then suffered lameness, deafness, and blindness for nearly twenty-nine years. Unable to givemissions, he cultivated more the contemplative life. He bore his ills with angelic patience, worked several miracles, and was favoured by God with ecstasies. Though a constant sufferer, he held the post of guardian in the monastery of Maria delle Grazie in San Severino (1692-3), where he died. His cause for beatification was begun in 1740; he was beatified by Pius VI, 4 August, 1786, and solemnly canonized by Gregory XVI, 26 May, 1839. His feast is celebrated on 24 September. SOURCE