Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Saint February 17 : Founders of the Orders of Servites

Feast Day:February 17
Between the years 1225 and 1227 seven young Florentines joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin—popularly known as the 'Laudesi' or Praisers. It was a period when the prosperous city of Florence was being rent by political factions and distracted by the heresy of the Cathari: it was also a time of general relaxation of morals even where devotional practices were retained. These young men were members of the most prominent families of the city. Whether they were all friends before they joined the Laudesi is not clear, but in that confraternity they became closely allied.

The eldest was Buonfiglio Monaldo, who became their leader. The others were Alexis Falconieri, Benedict dell' Antella, Bartholomew Amidei, Ricovero Uguccione, Gerardino Sostegni, and John Buonagiunta. They had as their spiritual director James of Poggibonsi, who was chaplain of the Laudesi, a man of great holiness and spiritual insight. All of them came to realize the call to a life of renunciation, and they determined to have recourse to our Lady in their perplexity. On the feast of the Assumption, as they were absorbed in prayer, they saw her in a vision, and were inspired by her to withdraw from the world into a solitary place and to live for God alone. There were difficulties, because, though three of them were celibates, four had been married and had ties, although two had become widowers. Suitable provision for their dependents was arranged, and with the approval of the bishop they withdrew from the world and betook themselves to a house called La Carmarzia, outside the gates of Florence, twenty-three days after they had received their call. Before long they found themselves so much disturbed by constant visitors from Florence that they decided to withdraw to the wild and deserted slopes of Monte Senario, where they built a simple church and hermitage and lived a life of almost incredible austerity.
In spite of difficulties, visitors sometimes found their way to the hermits and many wished to join them, but they refused to accept recruits. So they continued to live for several years,—until they were visited by their bishop, Ardingo, and Cardinal Castiglione, who had heard about their sanctity. He was greatly edified, but made one adverse criticism: 'You treat yourselves in a manner bordering on barbarity: and you seem more desirous of dying to time than of living for eternity. Take heed: the enemy of souls often hides himself under the appearance of an angel of light . . . Hearken to the counsels of your superiors.'
Again the solitaries gave themselves up to prayer for light, and again they had a vision of our Lady, who bore in her hand a black habit while an angel held a scroll inscribed with the title of Servants of Mary. She told them she—had chosen them to be her servants, that she wished them to wear the black habit, and to follow the Rule of St. Augustine. From that date, April 13, 1240, they were known as the Servants of Mary, or Servites.
They were clothed by the bishop himself, Buonfiglio being elected their superior. According to custom they selected names by which they should thenceforth be known, and became Brothers Bonfilius, Alexis, Amadeus, Hugh, Sostenes, Manettus and Buonagiunta. By the wish of the bishop, all except St. Alexis, who in his humility begged to be excused, prepared to receive holy orders, and in due time they were fully professed and ordained priests. The new order, which took a form more like that of the mendicant friars than that of the monastic orders, increased amazingly, and it soon became necessary to form fresh houses. Siena, Pistoia and Arezzo were the first places chosen, and afterwards the houses at Carfaggio, the convent and church of the Santissima Annunziata in Florence, and the convent at Lucca were established. Meanwhile, although the Servites had the approval of their immediate superiors, they had not been recognized by the Holy See. It was only in 1259 that the order was practically recognized by Alexander IV, and not until 1304 over sixty years after its foundation-that it received the explicit and formal approbation of Bd. Benedict XI. St. Bonfilius had remained as prior general until 1256, when he begged to be relieved owing to old age. He died on new year's night, 1261.
St. Buonagiunta, the youngest of the seven, was the second prior general, but not long after his election he breathed his last in chapel while the gospel of the Passion was being read. St. Amadeus ruled over the important convent of Carfaggio, but returned to Monte Senario to end his days. St. Manettus became fourth prior general and sent missionaries to Asia, but he retired to make way for St. Philip Benizi, upon whose breast he died. St. Hugh and St. Sostenes went abroad—Sostenes to Paris and Hugh to found convents in Germany. They were recalled in 1276, and, being attacked by illness, they passed away side by side the same night. St. Alexis, the humble lay-brother outlived them all, and he was the only one who survived to see the order fully and finally recognized. He is reported to have died at the age one hundred and ten.


LIVE #PopeFrancis at Holy Mass in Mexico - #PapaenMex - FULL Video - Text

Pope Francis in Mexico: Holy Mass with priests, men and women religious, consecrated people and seminarians - FULL TEXT Homily - 
 There is a saying which goes “tell me how you pray, and I will tell you how you live; tell me how you live and I will tell you how you pray. Because showing me how you pray, I will learn to find the God for whom you live, and showing me how you live, I will learn to believe in the God to whom you pray”. For our life speaks of prayer and prayer speaks of our life; our life speaks through our prayer and our prayer speaks through our life. Praying is something learned, just as we learn to walk, to speak, to listen. The school of prayer is the school of life and in the school of life we progress in the school of prayer.
Jesus wished to introduce his companions into the mystery of Life, into the mystery of His life. He showed them by eating, sleeping, curing, preaching and praying, what it means to be Son of God. He invited them to share his life, his interiority, and in his presence among them he allowed them to touch, in his flesh, the life of the Father. He helped them to experience, in his gaze, in his going out in power, the newness of saying “Our Father”. In Jesus this expression has no trace of routine or mere repetition. On the contrary, it contains a sense of life, of experience, of authenticity. With these two words, “Our Father”, he knew how to live praying and to pray living.
Jesus invites us to do the same. Our first call is to experience this merciful love of the Father in our lives, in our experiences. His first call is to introduce us into the new dynamic of love, of sonship. Our first calling is to learn to say, “Our Father”, that is, Abba.
“Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!”, says Saint Paul, “Woe to me!”. For to evangelize, he continues, is not a cause for glory but rather a need (1 Cor 9:16).
He has invited us to share in his life, his divine life, and woe to us if we do not share it, woe to us if we are not witnesses to what we have seen and heard, woe to us. We are not and do not want to be “administrators of the divine”, we are not and do not want to be God’s employees, for we are invited to share in his life, we are invited to enter into his heart, a heart that prays and lives, saying, “Our Father”. What is our purpose if not to say with our lives, “Our Father”?
He who is Our Father, it is he to whom we pray every day with insistence: Lead us not into temptation. Jesus himself did the same thing. He prayed that his disciples – yesterday’s and today’s – would not fall into temptation. What could be one of the sins which besets us? What could be one of the temptations which springs up not only in contemplating reality but also in living it? What temptation can come to us from places often dominated by violence, corruption, drug trafficking, disregard for human dignity, and indifference in the face of suffering and vulnerability? What temptation might we suffer over and over again when faced with this reality which seems to have become a permanent system?
I think we can sum it up in a word, “resignation”. Faced with this reality, the devil can overcome us with one of his favourite weapons: resignation. A resignation which paralyzes us and prevents us not only from walking, but also from making the journey; a resignation which not only terrifies us, but which also entrenches us in our “sacristies” and false securities; a resignation which not only prevents us from proclaiming, but also inhibits our giving praise. A resignation which not only hinders our looking to the future, but also thwarts our desire to take risks and to change. And so, “Our Father, lead us not into temptation”.
How good it is for us to tap into our memories when we are tempted. How much it helps us to look at the “stuff” of which we are made. It did not all begin with us, nor will it all end with us, and so it does us good to look back at our past experiences which have brought us to where we are today.
And in this remembering, we cannot overlook someone who loved this place so much, who made himself a son of this land. We cannot overlook that person who could say of himself: “They took me from the tribunal and put me in charge of the priesthood for my sins. Me, useless and quite unable to carry out such a great undertaking; me, who didn’t know how to use an oar, they chose me to be the first Bishop of Michoacán” (Vasco Vázquez de Quiroga, Pastoral Letter, 1554).
With you, I would like to recall this evangelizer, first known as “the Spaniard who became an Indian”.
The situation of the Purhépechas Indians, whom he described as being “sold, humiliated, and homeless in marketplaces, picking up scraps of bread from the ground”, far from tempting him to listless resignation, succeeded in kindling his faith, strengthening his compassion and inspiring him to carry out plans that were a “breath of fresh air” in the midst of so much paralyzing injustice. The pain and suffering of his brothers and sisters became his prayer, and his prayer led to his response. Among the Indians, he was known as “Tata Vasco”, which in the Purhépechan language means, Father, dad, daddy…
It is to this prayer, to this expression, that Jesus calls us.
Father, dad, daddy… lead us not into the temptation of resignation, lead us not into the temptation of losing our memory, lead us not into the temptation of forgetting our elders who taught us by their lives to say, “Our Father”.
[Original text: Spanish] [Vatican-provided translation]

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. February 16, 2016

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 225

Reading 1IS 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

R. (18b) From all their distress God rescues the just.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.

Verse Before The GospelMT 4:4B

One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

GospelMT 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

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  • Mass at San Cristobal de la Casas: the Pope asks indigenous peoples for forgiveness
  • Encounter with families: combat uncertainty and isolation
  • Other Pontifical Acts
  • Mass at Ecatepec: Lent is a time for opening our eyes to the injustices that stand in the way of God's plan
  • Angelus: thanksgiving is born among a people capable of remembering

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    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

    Mass at San Cristobal de la Casas: the Pope asks indigenous peoples for forgiveness

    Vatican City, 16 February 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father arrived shortly after 9 a.m. local time (4.10 p.m. in Rome) at Tuxtla Gutierrez, capital of the state of Chiapas. Given its high growth rate the city, usually referred to as Tuxtla, is one of the poles of attraction for clandestine immigration both from bordering Guatemala and other Latin American countries.

    Chiapas is Mexico's southernmost state and, despite is great wealth of natural resources, it is one of the poorest with the lowest life expectancy. Thirty per cent of its four and a half million inhabitants speak the indigenous language only, and the past oppression of the indigenous population was in 1868 the cause of the rebellion that came close to conquering Tuxtla. The state is also the stronghold of the Zapatista movement (Zapatista Army of National Liberation), established in 1983 to demand respect for the rights of indigenous populations and the recognition of their culture, and to claim control of local resources, especially land. The Zapatistas set aside their weapons in 1994 and moved to the political sphere through a strategy of civil resistance and the use of communications media. The popular basis of the movement is constituted principally of the inhabitants of rural areas and the Maya indigenous populations.

    From Tuxtla Gutierrez the Pope transferred by helicopter to San Cristobal de las Casas, considered the cultural capital of Chiapas. The city, founded in 1528 and named first "Villareal" and subsequently "Ciudad Real", over time adopted the name of the state's patron saint, Cristobal, and added "de Las Casas" in honour of Fr. Bartolome de Las Casas, the first bishop of Ciudad Real from 1554 to 1566 and defender of the rights of indigenous peoples.

    The Pope was received by Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de Las Casas, and celebrated the Eucharist in the municipal sports centre, able to hold a hundred thousand people. The majority of the faithful were indigenous people from throughout the whole of the state of Chiapas and the celebration was held not only in Spanish but also in the tseltal, ch'ol and tsotil languages, in accordance with a decree approved by Francis for the occasion, enabling the use of indigenous languages in the liturgy.

    In his homily, the Holy Father recalled the liberation of the People of Israel from the tyranny of the Pharaoh, and their yearning to live in freedom in the promised land "where oppression, mistreatment and humiliation are not the currency of the day". He cited the Popol Vuh (Book of Wisdom) which recounts the Mayan myth of creation, according to which "The dawn rises on all of the tribes together", as well as on the earth itself, which demands respect and is instead "among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor", leading to the current environmental crisis, one of the gravest in the history of our planet. The Pope praised the wisdom of the indigenous populations, and reaffirmed that they have much to teach humanity on account of the harmony of their relationship with nature, and he asked their forgiveness for the many times throughout history that they have been misunderstood, excluded and robbed of their lands, values, cultures and traditions.

    "Li smantal Kajvaltike toj lek – the law of the Lord is perfect; it revives the soul. Thus begins the psalm we have just heard", said the Pope. "The law of the Lord is perfect and the psalmist diligently lists everything that the law offers to those who hear and follow it: it revives the soul, it gives wisdom to the simple, it gladdens the heart, and it gives light to the eyes. This is the law which the people of Israel received from the hand of Moses, a law that would help the People of God to live in the freedom to which they were called. A law intended to be a light for the journey and to accompany the pilgrimage of his people. A people who experienced slavery and the Pharaoh’s tyranny, who endured suffering and oppression to the point where God said, “Enough! No more! I have seen their affliction, I have heard their cry, I know their sufferings”. And here the true face of God is seen, the face of the Father Who suffers as He sees the pain, mistreatment, and lack of justice for His children. His word, His law, thus becomes a symbol of freedom, a symbol of happiness, wisdom and light. It is an experience, a reality which is conveyed by a phrase prayed in Popol Vuh and born of the wisdom accumulated in these lands since time immemorial: 'The dawn rises on all of the tribes together. The face of the earth was immediately healed by the sun'. The sun rose for the people who at various times have walked in the midst of history’s darkest moments".

    "In this expression"; he continued, "one hears the yearning to live in freedom, there is a longing which contemplates a promised land where oppression, mistreatment and humiliation are not the currency of the day. In the heart of man and in the memory of many of our peoples is imprinted this yearning for a land, for a time when human corruption will be overcome by fraternity, when injustice will be conquered by solidarity and when violence will be silenced by peace. Our Father not only shares this longing, but has Himself inspired it and continues to do so in giving us His son Jesus Christ. In Him we discover the solidarity of the Father Who walks by our side. In Him, we see how the perfect law takes flesh, takes a human face, shares our history so as to walk with and sustain His people. He becomes the Way, He becomes the Truth, He becomes the Life, so that darkness may not have the last word and the dawn may not cease to rise on the lives of His sons and daughters".

    "In many ways, and in many forms, there have been attempts to silence and dull this yearning, and in many ways there have been efforts to anaesthetise our soul, and in many ways there have been endeavours to subdue and lull our children and young people into a kind of lassitude by suggesting that nothing can change, that their dreams can never come true. Faced with these attempts, creation itself also raises an objection: 'This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she groans in travail. The environmental challenge that we are experiencing and its human causes, affects us all and demands our response. We can no longer remain silent before one of the greatest environmental crises in world history".

    "In this regard, you have much to teach us, much to teach humanity", emphasised the Pope. "Your peoples, as the bishops of Latin America have recognised, know how to interact harmoniously with nature, which they respect as a 'source of food, a common home and an altar of human sharing'. And yet, on many occasions, in a systematic and organized way, your people have been misunderstood and excluded from society. Some have considered your values, culture and traditions to be inferior. Others, intoxicated by power, money and market trends, have stolen your lands or contaminated them. How sad this is! How worthwhile it would be for each of us to examine our conscience and learn to say, 'forgive me!', 'forgive me, brothers and sisters!' Today’s world, ravaged as it is by a throwaway culture, needs you. Exposed to a culture that seeks to suppress all cultural heritage and features in pursuit of a homogenised world, the youth of today, these youth, need to cling to the wisdom of their elders. Today’s world, overcome by convenience, needs to learn anew the value of gratitude".

    "We rejoice in the certainty that 'The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us'. We rejoice that Jesus continues to die and rise again in each gesture that we offer to the least of our brothers and sisters. Let us be resolved to be witnesses to his Passion and his Resurrection, by giving flesh to these words: Li smantal Kajvaltike toj lek – the law of the Lord is perfect and comforts the soul", he concluded.

    At the end of the Mass a representative of the indigenous communities addressed "Tatik Francisco" to thank him for his visit. "Thank you for visiting us. Although many people disregard us, you wanted to come here and have thought of us, as Our Lady of Guadalupe did with St. Juan Dieguito. May you carry in your heart our culture, our joys and sufferings, the injustices we have suffered. … Although you live far away from us, in Rome, we feel that you are very close to us. May you continue to inspire us with the joy of the Gospel, and help us to care for our sister and mother Earth, that God has given to us. And thank you for having again authorised the role of the indigenous permanent diaconate, with its own culture, and for having approved the use of our languages in the liturgy".

    After the Eucharistic celebration the Pope transferred to the episcopal curia where he lunched with eight representatives of the indigenous populations. He subsequently visited the cathedral dedicated to the Assumption, built between 1500 and 1600, where he was awaited by a group of elderly and sick people with whom he spoke at length. He also paused to pray by the tomb of Msgr. Samuel Ruiz, who died in 2011, and who served as bishop of San Cristobal de Las Casas for forty years, during which he was greatly esteemed by the indigenous communities of Chiapas.

    Encounter with families: combat uncertainty and isolation

    Vatican City, 16 February 2016 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, after visiting the Cathedral of San Cristobal de Las Casas, the Pope departed by helicopter to Tuxtla Gutierrez where he met with families in the Victor Manuel Reyna stadium. Upon arrival at the stadium, by popemobile, he was greeted by thousands of people and received the keys to the city from the hands of the governor of the state of Chiapas.

    The meeting began with testimonies from a young couple; a family made up of divorced parents in a new relationship; Manuel, a disabled adolescent; Beatriz, a single mother, and various other couples from the diocese of Tapachula who had been married for many years.

    The Pope then addressed those present, starting by giving thanks to God "for being here, on Chiapaneca soil". He continued, "It feels good to be here on this soil, on this land; it is good to be here in this place which, with you here, has a family flavour, a home flavour. … I also thank you, families and friends, for giving us your witness, for opening to us the doors of your homes, the doors of your lives; you have allowed us to sit with you sharing both in the bread that nourishes you and in the sweat of your brow as you face the difficulties of every day. It is the bread representing the joys, the hopes and the hard sweat with which you confront sadness, disillusion and failings".

    "Manuel, before thanking you for your testimony", he continued. "I thank you for your witness and especially for your example. I liked the expression you used, 'to put your heart into it' [echarle ganas] describing the attitude you took after speaking with your parents. You began to put your heart into your life, your family, your friends; you put your heart into us gathered here. Thank you. I believe that this is what the Holy Spirit always wants to do in our midst: to put a new heart into us, giving us reasons to keep on taking risks for the good of the family, dreaming and building a life that has this sense of home, of family".

    "This is something which God the Father has always dreamt of and for which God the Father has fought for a very long time. When everything seemed lost that afternoon in the Garden of Eden, God the Father put a new heart into that young couple and told them that everything was not lost. And when the people of Israel felt that they could not go on journeying through the desert, God the Father put His heart into it by giving them manna from heaven. And when the fullness of time came, God the Father put His heart into it, into humanity, by sending us His Son".

    "Similarly, all of us here have had this experience, in different moments and different ways; God the Father has put His heart into it for us. We can ask ourselves: why? Because He cannot do otherwise. God our Father does not know how do to anything else but love us and put His best into us, encouraging us, helping us move forward… because His name is love, His name is self-giving, His name is mercy. This He has shown us with complete power and clarity in Jesus, His Son, Who risked everything to the end so as to once again make possible the Kingdom of God. A Kingdom that invites us to share in a new mindset, that puts into motion a dynamic power capable of opening the heavens, capable of opening our hearts, our minds, our hands and capable of challenging us with new possibilities. This is a Kingdom which has the feeling of family, the flavour of a life shared. In Jesus and with Jesus this Kingdom is possible".

    "Manuel, you asked me to pray for the many adolescents who are disillusioned and on a wrong path. How well we know this. Many adolescents who are deflated, tired and without aspirations. And as you yourself rightly said, this attitude often comes from a feeling of loneliness, from not having someone to talk to. Think of fathers and mothers: do they speak to their sons or daughters or are they always busy or in a rush?"

    "This reminds me of the witness which Beatriz gave us", he continued. "Beatriz, you said: 'the struggle has always been difficult because of uncertainty and loneliness'. How many times did you feel singled out, judged: 'that one'? Let us think of all those people, of all those women who go through what Beatriz went through. Uncertainty, insufficiency, and often not having the bare essentials, can lead to despair, can make us deeply anxious because we cannot see a way to go on, especially when we have children in our care. Uncertainty is not only a threat to our stomach (which is already serious), but it can also threaten our soul, demoralising us and taking away our energy so that we seek apparent solutions that in the end solve nothing. And you were brave Beatriz, thank you. There is a kind of uncertainty which can be very dangerous, which can creep in surreptitiously; it is the uncertainty born of solitude and isolation. And isolation is always a bad counsellor".

    "The way to overcome the uncertainty and isolation which makes us vulnerable to so many apparent solutions – as Beatriz mentioned – can be found on different levels. One is through legislation which protects and guarantees the bare necessities of life so that every home and every person can develop through education and dignified employment. There is, on the other hand, what the witness of Humberto and Claudia made evident when they explained how they tried to convey to others the love of God that they experienced through service and generous giving. Laws and personal commitment make good duo that can break the spiral of uncertainty. And you have the inspiration, you pray, and you are united to Jesus, and you are involved in the life of the Church. You used a beautiful expression: 'Let us take communion with the brother who is weak, ill, needy, in prison'. Thank you. Thank you".

    "Today we see how on different fronts the family is weakened and questioned. It is regarded as a model which has done its time, but which has no place in our societies; these, claiming to be modern, increasingly favour a model based on isolation. … It is true that family life is not always easy, and can often be painful and stressful but, as I have often said referring to the Church, I prefer a wounded family that makes daily efforts to put love into play, to a family and society that is sick from isolationism or a habitual fear of love. I prefer a family that makes repeated efforts to begin again, to a family and society that is narcissistic and obsessed with luxury and comfort. … I prefer a family with tired faces from generous giving, to a family with 'made up' faces that know nothing of tenderness and compassion. I prefer a man and a woman, don Aniceto and his wife, with faces that are wrinkled due to the daily struggles over the fifty years of strong married love; and here we have them".

    "And speaking of wrinkles, to change the subject a little, I remember the testimony of a great actress – an actress of Latin American films – almost in her sixties, and showing some wrinkles on her face. She was advised to have some work done on her face so as to carry on working successfully. Her response was quite clear: 'These wrinkles cost me a lot of work, much effort, much pain and a full life, so I would never even dream of touching them; they are the signs of my life history. And I am still a great actress'. The same thing happens in marriage. Married life has to be renewed every day. And, as I said before, I prefer families with wrinkles, with wounds, and scars, but who carry on moving forwards; for these wounds, scars and wrinkles are the fruit of a faithful love which has had its share of difficulties. Love is not easy, it not easy, but the most beautiful thing is when a man and a woman can offer each other true love and offer it for life".

    "I have been asked to pray for you and I want to do so now. You, dear Mexicans, have something extra; you run ahead with an advantage. You have a Mother, la Guadalupana. La Guadalupana wanted to visit this land and this gives us the certainty of her intercession so that our dream, which we call the family, may not be lost through uncertainty or solitude. She is a Mother and is always ready to defend our families, our future; she is always ready to put her heart into it by giving us her Son. For this reason, I invite you, as you are, without moving around too much, to hold hands and address her together: 'Hail Mary…'".

    After all those present in the stadium prayed a Hail Mary together, the Pope added, "And let us not forget St. Joseph, quiet, a worker, but always at the forefront looking after his family. Thank you, and may God bless you. And pray for me. And now I would like to invite married couples here present, in the context of this celebration of the family, to renew in silence their marriage vows. And those who are preparing for marriage, ask for the grace of a faithful family, full of love. In silence, renew your marriage vows, and newly-weds, pray for the grace of fidelity and love in the family".

    Later in the afternoon Francis returned by air to Mexico City, from where he travelled to Morelia to celebrate Mass with the priests, men and women religious, consecrated persons and seminarians of the city, and to meet the rectors of various Mexican universities and leaders of other Christian confessions in the cathedral. The Pope's day will conclude with a meeting with young people in the Morelos y Pavon Stadium, after which he will return to Mexico City.

    Other Pontifical Acts

    Vatican City, 16 February 2016 (VIS) – On 14 February, the Holy Father appointed Bishop George Bugeja, O.F.M., as apostolic administrator sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the apostolic vicariate of Benghazi, Libya. He is currently coadjutor of the apostolic vicariate of Tripoli, Libya, and succeeds Bishop Sylvester Carmel Magro, O.F.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same apostolic vicariate upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

    #PopeFrancis has Lunch with #Indigenous of #Mexico - #PapaenMex

    Pope Francis poses with representatives from Mexico’s indigenous communities during a lunch in Chiapas. - EPA
    Pope Francis poses with representatives from Mexico’s indigenous communities during a lunch in Chiapas. - EPA
    16/02/2016 13:54

    (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis had lunch with representatives from Mexico’s indigenous communities after his Mass in the southern region of Chiapas.
    The indigenous population is 15% of the total for the nation, and much higher in the southern region.
    Vatican Spokesman Father Frederico Lombardi, SJ, explained that the meeting followed the same format which the Pope has used on other trips, such as World Youth Day, meeting groups of refugees, or visiting the poor.
    Eight representatives from different Indigenous communities sat down for lunch with the Holy Father. They included an indigenous priest, who was dressed as a normal indigenous man, rather than in any particular clerical dress.
    Other representatives included a permanent deacon and his wife, a religious sister, a representative for indigenous youth and a catechist. The group represented a cross section of the indigenous community of Mexico.
    Father Lombardi went on to say: “The Pope had a simple, normal conversation with them.”