Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Pope Francis In-Flight Press Conference from UAE "We prayed a lot..." on Declaration, Abuse, Venezuela, etc. - FULL TEXT + Video

FULL TEXT Transcript from CNA:
Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See Press Office: Good afternoon, Holy Father. Good afternoon to you all. We journalists frequently use the adjective 'historic,' and at times they tell us we use it too often. Maybe for this trip we used it well and many used it in different languages. Truly a short trip in length but with a really long horizon, and all hope that the fruits and the seeds of these days will be long-lasting. Clearly a trip, as was seen today a few hours ago, a meeting with a people... of many peoples. The organizers were saying around 100 nationalities were present. And then yesterday this [joint] document, obviously extraordinary, valuable.

A surprise, but I imagine one of those surprises that is a pleasure for colleagues to recount for its importance. I do not know if before the questions, Holy Father, you want to address some words?

Pope Francis: First of all, hello, thank you for the company. It was too short of a trip, but for me it was a great experience. It’s that I think that every trip is historic, also each of our days, to write the story of every day... no story is small, every story is big and worthy even if [judged to be] bad, the dignity is hidden, can always come up. Thank you so much for your collaboration.

Gisotti: Ok, let’s begin with the questions. As is tradition, starting with the local journalists. This document which is full of information really raises many reflections. The first to address the question to the Holy Father is Barham from Sky News Arabia.
Sargon Hurmez Barham, Sky News Arabia: Holiness, what will be the outcome of this trip and what were your impressions of the country, of the United Arab Emirates?

Pope Francis: I saw a modern country. The city struck me, even the cleanliness of the city, also small curiosities like how do they water the flowers in this desert? But also a modern country... also welcoming of so many peoples that come here, but also a country that looks to the future. The example: the education of children. They educate them looking to the future, always. So they have told me. Then a thing that struck me, the problem of water... they are considering in the near future to take water from the sea, to make it potable and even the water of the humidity to make it drinkable... always searching for new things. And I even heard from someone, “one day the petroleum will be gone. We are preparing ourselves for that day, now, to have something to do." This is a country that looks to the future.

Then it seemed to me [to be] an open country, not closed, even the religiosity of Islamism, it is an open Islamism, not closed, of dialogue, a fraternal and peaceful Islamism. On this [point], they emphasize education to peace, that is felt to be a duty, although there are some problems of some wars in the area, but this I have not heard... Then for me the meeting with the elders was very touching. The elders of Islamism, it is a profound thing, they were a little from everywhere, of various cultures. This shows, however, the openness of this country to a certain regional, universal, religious dialogue. Then I was struck also by the interreligious convention, this is a strong cultural event. And also I mentioned in my speech what they did here, last year, [a conference] on the protection of children, but in media, on the internet... in these things... because child pornography today is an industry with a lot of money, and they profit from children and this country realized it and did that. Positive things. Surely there are problems, negative things, but in a trip of less than three days these things are not seen and if you see one, a person looks the other way. Thank you for the hospitality.

Gisotti: Now Nour Salman of the Emirates News Agency will pose you a question.

Nour Salman, Emirates News Agency: Holy Father, thank you very much for your activity. The question I would like to ask you: now that the declaration of Abu Dhabi on fraternity has been signed, how will this document be applied in the future and what are your thoughts on Prince Mohammed’s announcement on building a church of St. Francis next to a mosque of the Imam el-Tayeb?

Pope Francis: The document was prepared with much reflection and also praying; the Grand Imam and his team and me with mine. We prayed a lot to be able to make this document because for me there is one single great danger in this moment: destruction, war and hatred between us. And, if we believers are not capable of giving each other a hand, embracing each other and even praying, our faith will be defeated. This document is born from faith in God, who is the Father of all and the father of peace, and condemns every destruction, every terrorism. The first terrorism in history is that of Cain. It is a document that was developed over almost a year, back and forth, prayer. It remained a little confidential so as to mature, to not give birth to the child before the time, that it might be mature.

Gisotti: Holy Father, before the next question, there’s an homage from the journalist of al Ittihad wants to make. In the meantime, I ask Jörg Seisselberg to get prepared. Now, Jörg Seisselberg of the German ARD will pose you a question.

Jörg Herbert Seisselberg, ARD Radio: Holy Father, this trip has been full of encounters, impressions, and images. The images of your arrival, the honorary military welcome, and the military planes that made the design in the sky with the Vatican colors remained in my mind. I ask myself: What does this have to do with Pope Francis, with the Pope that comes with a message of peace? What do you think of this? What did you feel, what do you think in these moments?

Again on this theme of your appeal for peace in Yemen: what reactions did you receive in your meetings that create hope that this message was received, that steps towards peace will be taken in Yemen?

Pope Francis: Thank you. I interpret all of the gestures of welcome as gestures of goodwill; everyone does them according to their own cultures. What did I find here? Such a great welcome that they wanted to do everything, small things and big things, because they felt that the Pope’s visit was something good. Someone also said a blessing...God knows…But they wanted me to feel that I was welcome.

About the problem of wars. You mentioned one. I know it’s difficult to give an opinion after two days and having spoken about the issue, but with few people. I will say that I found goodwill in initiating peace processes. This I found. A common denominator with those I have spoken with about war situations. you mentioned Yemen: I found goodwill to initiate peace processes.


Gisotti: Domenico Agasso of La Stampa will now pose a question. It’s his second papal trip, but it’s the first occasion to be able to make a question in an in-flight press conference. Please.

Domenico Agasso, La Stampa: Holy Father, after the historic signing of the document on fraternity yesterday, in your perspective what do you think could be the consequences in the Islamic world? Thinking especially of the conflicts in Yemen and Syria... And what the outcomes will there be even among Catholics, considering the fact that there is a part of Catholics that accuse you of allowing yourself to be used by Muslims.

Pope Francis: But not only the Muslims... they accuse me of allowing myself to be used by everyone, even by journalists, it is part of the job. But I want to say one thing. This I emphasize clearly. From the Catholic point of view, the document does not pull away one millimeter from Vatican II, which is even cited a few times. The document was made in the spirit of Vatican II. I wanted, before making the decision, to say it good that way and let’s sign it, at least on my side, I had some theologians read [the document] and even [had it read] officially by the theologian of the Pontifical Household, that is a Dominican, and with the beautiful tradition of the Dominicans not to go on a witch-hunt, but to see where is the right thing... and he approved it.

If anyone feels bad, I understand it, it is not an everyday thing... not a step back. It is a step forward. But, step forward that comes after 50 years, from the Council, that must be developed. The historians say that a council takes 100 years to take root in the Church. We are halfway. And this draws even my attention. I will tell you that I saw a phrase, but this phrase I do not know if it is sure, but it is a phrase from the Council... It has surprised even me... Also in the Islamic world there are different opinions, there are some more radical than others. Yesterday in the council of the elders there was also at least one Shiite, and that gave a very great universality, and he spoke well. There will be - I don’t know well - but there will be discrepancies, but it is a process and processes mature like flowers, like fruit.

Gisotti: Thanks, Holy Father. Let’s go now to the Francophone group. Mathilde Imberty of Radio France.

Mathilde Imberty (Radio France): Good afternoon, Holy Father. You’ve just concluded a visit to the Emirates and in a very short time you’ll go to Morocco. We seem to understand that you chose to speak with very precise interlocutors of Islam. Is it a conscious choice? The historic document signed yesterday is very ambitious for education. In your perspective, can this truly touch the Muslim faithful? Thanks.

Pope Francis: I know and I’ve heard from some Muslims that it needs to be studied in universities, at least in Al-Azhar for sure, and in schools. It must be studied, not imposed… studied! This to begin from the end of your question.

It’s a bit by chance the proximity of the two trips because I wanted to go to Marrakesh but there were protocol issues and I couldn’t go to an international encounter without first making a visit to the country but I didn’t have time. And for this we postponed the visit and it’s in coincidence with this. And it was the Secretary of State to go to Marrakesh. It’s a question of diplomacy and of education, as well, but it wasn’t a planned thing. In Morocco, I follow in the footsteps of St. John Paul II who went there. He was the first to go. It will be a nice trip. Then, invitations have arrived from other Muslim countries but there’s not time this year. We’ll see next year. I or the other Peter, someone will go.

Gisotti: Good, well maybe we can do it, Maria Sagrario Ruiz of Radio Nacional Espana. Ok, thank you.

Maria Sagrario Ruiz (Radio Nacional Espana): Good evening, I have a question in Spanish. Vatican diplomacy has a great history and practices this diplomacy of small steps in areas of conflict, and how can we not recall concretely 1978, when John Paul II, with his mediation averted a war between your country, Argentina, and Chile. We know from yesterday that Nicolas Maduro – and we arrive at Venezuela – has sent a letter asking for help to restart the dialogue. There is Secretary of State Parolin who knows the country perfectly, all eyes are on you, on Pope Francis and the Vatican. What is the Vatican doing or what do you think? Are you willing to mediate, if asked, at what point, at what time?

Pope Francis: Thank you. The mediation between Argentina and Chile was truly a courageous act of Saint John Paul II that averted a war, which was at the point [of happening]. But there are little steps, the last is mediation. There are little initial or facilitating steps, but not only in the Vatican, in all diplomacy; closeness to one another to start the possibility for dialogue. This is done in diplomacy. I believe that from the Secretariat of State, they will be able to explain well all of the different steps that can be made. I knew before the trip that a letter from Maduro arrived in the diplomatic pouch. This letter I have not read it yet, this one that arrived. We will see what can be done. But in order for us to take the last step, mediation, it takes the will of both parties. If both parties ask...this was the case for Argentina and Chile.

The Holy See in Venezuela was present in the time of dialogue with your compatriot Rodriguez Zapatero, a first meeting with Monsignor Tscherrig initially, and then continued with Monsignor Celli … and there gave birth to a mouse, nothing … smoke!

Now, I do not know, I will look at that letter and I will see what can be done. But the initial conditions are that both parties ask. We are always willing. The same when people go to the parish priest because there is a problem between the husband and wife... one goes and the other comes or does not come? He wants or does not want to go? Both parties are always needed. This is the secret. And [for] the countries [this] is a condition that that they must do, think before asking -- [for a] a facilitation or presence of a savior or mediation. Both parties always. Thank you! And I’ll go to Spain, eh?

Gisotti: Thank you. Nicole is approaching. Nicole Winfield of Associated Press will ask her question now.

Nicole Winfield, AP: Holy Father, last week the women’s magazine of L’Osservatore Romano published an article denouncing sexual abuse of consecrated women in the Church. Adult women, sisters, by clergy. Some months ago, the Union of Superiors General, UISG, also made a public denouncement of this problem. We know that the coming meeting in the Vatican will be on the abuse of minors, but can we think that the Holy See might do something to confront this problem, maybe with a document, guidelines, etc?

Pope Francis: I will respond to this question, but I prefer to finish with the [questions about the] trip and then first thing I will respond to yours. Is it okay like that?

Gisotti: So, while Nicole stays here, we reach Angelina Condé of Rome Reports.

Angelina Condé (Rome Reports): Good evening Holy Father, on behalf of the Spanish group I'll ask you the question in Spanish, I think that's okay for you. You had a meeting with the Council of Elders. From what you can tell us, what issues did you touch upon and did you return to Rome with the impression that your message was received by their representatives?

Pope Francis: The elderly are truly wise. The Grande Imam spoke first, then each one of them spoke starting with the eldest, who yes, spoke Spanish because he was from Mauritania and learned it there. Elderly, eh, 80 years old, up to the youngest, who is the secretary of the Council of Elders. He spoke a little bit but said everything in a video: the unique thing about him is that he is a communicator. I liked this, it was a beautiful thing.

They spoke...they started...The keyword is "wisdom." Then "loyalty." Then they emphasized a way of life in which this wisdom grows and the fidelity becomes strong and from there the friendship between people is born. They were different, I don't know how to explain it. One was Shia Islam, others of different nuances...Then wisdom and fidelity is the important path to building peace because peace is a work of wisdom and fidelity; Human fidelity between people and all of this. I have been left with the impression of being in the midst of true wise men and this is a guarantee for the Grand Imam to have this advice.

You are satisfied, I suppose?

Condé: Yes. Very satisfied. Thank you.

Gisotti: Here is Cristiana Caricato. Cristiana...Here we are. The Holy Father said that he’s responding to the questions on the trip. The Holy Father said to stick to the trip and then...

Pope Francis: Any more questions on the flight? There’s one!

Gisotti: We have Sofia Barbarani from The National, which is a very important newspaper for Abu Dhabi and in these days.... Sofia Barbarani, The National, Abu Dhabi.

Sofia Barbarani, The National: Good evening! The question we wanted to ask you on behalf of the group of newspapers from Abu Dhabi was: today a little girl brought you a letter, she ran to you when you were in the car. We would like to know if you have read the letter yet and if you knew what…

Pope Francis: Not yet. The letters are there, they're organizing them for me to read afterwards.


Barbarani: Can you tell us what impression that made on you when you saw this little girl coming towards you, this little girl who escaped from the crowd?

Pope Francis: She's a brave girl! But she was stopped... Let her come, but that little girl has a future. She has a future and I dare say, poor husband. She has a future, but is brave, I liked it! It takes courage to do that, and then another one followed her, there were two, she saw that one and she took courage.

Gisotti: There are other questions from the trip: Ines San Martin and Franca Giansoldati. If you are very quick…

Pope Francis: Maybe there will be other questions which are not from the trip, there’s one…

Gisotti: A booking... Franca, sit down, please...briefly, please.

Franca Giansoldati, Il Messaggero: Your Holiness, Imam el-Tayeb denounced Islamophobia, emphasized Islamophobia, the fear of Islam… Why didn’t we hear anything about Christianophobia or about the persecution of Christians?

Pope Francis: Indeed, I spoke about the persecution of Christians, not in that moment, but I'm also talking about it frequently, also during this trip I spoke about it, I don't remember where, but I spoke about it. I don’t know, I think that the document was more about unity and friendship and I underscored that… but now it comes to mind, also the document condemns violence and some groups that call themselves Islamic (the elders say it's not Islamism) persecuting Christians. I remember that father, on Lesbos, with three children who was 30 years old and he cried: "I'm Islamic, my wife was Christian. The ISIS terrorists came, they saw the cross and they said to her, convert, and then they cut her throat in front of me.” This is our daily bread of terrorist groups, not only of Christians, also the destruction of the person. The document was strongly condemnatory in this sense.

Gisotti: Ines San Martin, always on the flight. Ines San Martin, Crux.

Inés San Martín, Crux: Holy Father. One question related to what my colleague has just asked, since we didn’t have the time to arrange it. As I told you in the last trip, I interviewed the new Archbishop of Mosul in Iraq. He always says that they are waiting for you. He also denies that the bishops are arguing about it, they are just waiting for you. You have spoken about religious liberty, saying that it goes beyond freedom of worship. Can you explain this subject? We are coming back from a country that it is known for its tolerance but many Catholic people that were today in the stadium have the opportunity, just today since they first arrived to the UAE, to demonstrate their faith and belief. So, is there anything that has actually changed beyond today?

Pope Francis: Processes have a beginning, right? You can prepare something and you make it and that’s it. There’s something before and something after it. I think religious liberty is in process, always more, always forward. I was impressed by a conversation I had with a 13 year old kid in Rome, before leaving. (...) He told me: “Holiness, I want to say that I am an atheist. What should I do as an atheist to become a man of peace?” I told him: “Do that which you feel,” then I spoke to him a little bit more, but I liked the courage of this boy. He is an atheist but he searches for the good.

That path is also a process, a process that we should respect and accompany. To accompany all processes for good, all, whatever color they are, of any color. I think these are the steps forward.

Gisotti: Here, Holy Father, the time is little... however, there is a response to give.

[Ed. Note: Pope Francis responds to the question about abuse of women religious by clergy from above.]

Pope Francis: It’s true, it’s a problem. The mistreatment of women is a problem. I would dare to say that humanity still hasn’t matured. The woman is [considered] “second class.” Let’s begin here: it’s a cultural problem. Then one arrives up to femicide. There are countries in which the mistreatment of women reaches [the point of] femicide and before arriving to your concrete question, a curiosity that they have told me, but you do the investigation to know if it’s true or not: I’ve been told that the beginning of the history of women’s jewelry came about in an ancient country, I do not know, of the East, where there was the law of chasing away, repudiating, the woman. If the husband - I don’t know if it’s true or not - said to her, “go away,” in that moment with what she was wearing she had to go without taking anything. And there, they began to make jewels of gold and precious stones, to have something to survive. I don't know if it's true or not, but it is interesting. Do the investigation.

It’s true, within the Church there have been clerics who have done this. In some civilizations a little stronger than in others. It is not a thing that all have done. There have been priests and also bishops who have done that. And I believe that it may still be being done. It’s not a thing that from the moment in which you realize it, it’s over. The thing goes forward like this. We’ve been working on this for a long time. We’ve suspended some clerics, sent them away for this, and also - I don’t know if the process is finished - dissolved some women’s religious congregations that were very tied up in this, a corruption. I cannot say: at my home... It's true! Must something more be done? Yes. Do we have the will? Yes.

But it is a path that has come from afar. Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a women’s congregation that had a certain level because this slavery of women had entered, even sexual slavery, by clerics or by the founder. Sometimes the founder takes the freedom, empties the freedom of the sisters, it can arrive to this.

About Pope Benedict I would like to underscore that he is a man that had the courage to do many things on this theme. There’s an anecdote: he had all the papers, all the documents, on a religious organization that had within it even sexual and economic corruption. He went there, there were filters, he couldn’t arrive. In the end, the Pope, with the will to see the truth, called a meeting and Joseph Ratzinger left there with the folder and all of his papers. When he came back, he said to his secretary: put it in the archive, the other party won. We mustn’t be scandalized by this. They are steps in a process. But when he became Pope, the first thing [he said was]: bring me this from the archives and he began. The folklore about Pope Benedict makes him seem so good -- he is good, a piece of bread is worse than him -- but weak, but there’s nothing weak [in him]. He’s a strong man, a consistent man... and he started, and there in that congregation there was this problem that you say. Pray so that we can move forward. I want to go forward. There are cases, yes. But everywhere, but in some preferably new congregations, some, and in some regions more than others. Yes. And this... We are working.

Gisotti: Thank you, Holy Father, thank you to all of you, but there is a surprise for a colleague who has reached a very important milestone. (Valentina Alazraki)

Pope Francis: They told me that we're celebrating your 150th birthday [Ed. Note: he means 150th apostolic trip].

Gisotti: 151st, I think.

Pope Francis: But, no! I don't see her that mummified [old], but she is one that has interesting roots. I once told her: if she goes for a blood sample…

Thank you so much. Pray for me, don’t forget. I need it. Thank you.
Text Source: Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis visits Mosque then Departs to Vatican after Thanking Crown Prince for United Arab Emirates Visit - Video

Pope Francis on Tuesday concluded his Apostolic Visit to the United Arab Emirates.
“I don't know how to thank you.”  Pope Francis said to the Crown Prince for the invitation to the United Arab Emirate. The Pope then shook hands with each one of the members of the whole group from the United Arab Emirates. Mohammaed Bin Zayed,  did the same with the representatives of the Vatican who accompanied the pope. Pope Francis presented the Crown Prince a gift before exchanging goodbyes from the entrance of the plane. On the red carpet, the two walked together.
 Earlier in the day Pope Francis visited Sheikh Zayed Mosque in the United Arab Emirates. The pope arrived by car, and Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb went out to meet him. He is the spiritual guide of 1,100 million Sunni Muslims and the great Imam of Al-Azhar University. In this mosque, Pope Francis visited the tomb of the founder of the United Arab Emirates, Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahayan. Then the Holy Father had a private 30-minute meeting with the Muslim Council for the Elderly. According to the Vatican, they highlighted the importance of the meeting's culture to reinforce their commitment to dialogue and peace. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the largest in the UAE. It takes up more than 215,000 square feet. 

#BreakingNews Pope Francis "...Jesus brought God’s love into the world." at Historic 1st Mass in United Arab Emirates with 130,000 - Full Text + Video


Pope Francis' homily at Mass in the UAE: Full text
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City on Tuesday, the last day of his Apostolic Journey to the United Arab Emirates. The full text of his homily is below.
Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis

Holy Mass, Zayed Sports City

Abu Dhabi, 5 February 2019

Blessed: this is the word with which Jesus begins his preaching in Matthew’s Gospel.  And it is the refrain he repeats today, as if to fix in our hearts, more than anything, an essential message: if you are with Jesus, if you love to listen to his word as the disciples of that time did, if you try to live out this word every day, then you are blessed.  Not you will be blessed, but you are blessed; this is the first truth we know about the Christian life.  It is not simply a list of external prescriptions to fulfil or a set of teachings to know.  The Christian life, first and foremost, is not this; rather, it is the knowledge that, in Jesus, we are the Father’s beloved children.  The Christian life means living out the joy of this blessedness, wanting to live life as a love story, the story of God’s faithful love, he who never abandons us and wishes to be in communion with us always.  This is the reason for our joy, a joy that no one in the world and no circumstance in our lives can take from us.  It is a joy that gives peace also in the midst of pain, a joy that already makes us participate in that eternal happiness which awaits us.  Dear brothers and sisters, in the joy of meeting you, this is the word I have come to say to you: blessed!

Even as Jesus calls his own disciples blessed, we are yet struck by the reasons for the individual Beatitudes.  We see in them an overturning of that popular thinking, according to which it is the rich and the powerful who are blessed, those who are successful and acclaimed by the crowds.  For Jesus, on the other hand, blessed are the poor, the meek, those who remain just even at the cost of appearing in a bad light, those who are persecuted.  Who is correct here: Jesus or the world?  To understand this, let us look at how Jesus lived: poor in respect to things, but wealthy in love; he healed so many lives, but did not spare his own.  He came to serve and not to be served; he taught us that greatness is not found in having but rather in giving.  Just and meek, he did not offer resistance, but allowed himself to be condemned unjustly.  In this way Jesus brought God’s love into the world.  Only in this way did he defeat death, sin, fear and even worldliness: only by the power of divine love.  Let us together ask here today for the grace of rediscovering the attraction of following Jesus, of imitating him, of not seeking anyone else but him and his humble love.  For here is the meaning of our life: in communion with him and in our love for others.  Do you believe in this?

I have also come to say thank you for the way in which you live the Gospel we heard.  People say that the difference between the written Gospel and the lived Gospel is the same difference between written music and performed music.  You who are here know the Gospel’s tune and you follow its rhythm with enthusiasm.  You are a choir composed of numerous nations, languages and rites; a diversity that the Holy Spirit loves and wants to harmonize ever more, in order to make a symphony.  This joyful polyphony of faith is a witness that you give everyone and that builds up the Church.  It struck me what Bishop Hinder once said: that he not only feels himself to be your shepherd, but that you, by your example, are often shepherds to him.

To live the life of the blessed and following the way of Jesus does not, however, mean always being cheerful.  Someone who is afflicted, who suffers injustice, who does everything he can to be a peacemaker, knows what it means to suffer.  It is most certainly not easy for you to live far from home, missing the affection of your loved ones, and perhaps also feeling uncertainty about the future.  But the Lord is faithful and does not abandon his people.  A story from the life of Saint Anthony the Abbot, the great founder of monasticism in the desert, may be helpful to us.  He left everything for the Lord and found himself in the desert.  There, for a time, he was immersed in a bitter spiritual struggle that gave him no peace; he was assaulted by doubts and darkness, and even by temptation to give in to nostalgia and regrets about his earlier life.  But then, after all this torment the Lord consoled him, and Saint Anthony asked him: “Where were you?  Why did you not appear before to free me from my suffering?”  But then he clearly heard Jesus’ answer: “I was here, Anthony” (Saint Athanasius, Vita Antonii, 10).  The Lord is close.  It can happen that, when faced with fresh sorrow or a difficult period, we think we are alone, even after all the time we have spent with the Lord.  But in those moments, where he might not intervene immediately, he walks at our side.  And if we continue to go forward, he will open up a new way for us; for the Lord specializes in doing new things; he can even open paths in the desert (cf. Is 43:19).

Dear brothers and sisters, I want to tell you that living out the Beatitudes does not require dramatic gestures.  Look at Jesus: he left nothing written, built nothing imposing.  And when he told us how to live, he did not ask us to build great works or draw attention to ourselves with extraordinary gestures.  He asked us to produce just one work of art, possible for everyone: our own life.  The Beatitudes are thus a roadmap for our life: they do not require superhuman actions, but rather the imitation of Jesus in our everyday life.  They invite us to keep our hearts pure, to practice meekness and justice despite everything, to be merciful to all, to live affliction in union with God.  This is the holiness of daily life, one that has no need of miracles or of extraordinary signs.  The Beatitudes are not for supermen, but for those who face up to the challenges and trials of each day.  Those who live out the Beatitudes according to Jesus are able to cleanse the world.  They are like a tree that even in the wasteland absorbs polluted air each day and gives back oxygen.  It is my hope that you will be like this, rooted in Jesus and ready to do good to those around you.  May your communities be oases of peace.

Finally, I would like to consider for a moment two of the Beatitudes.  First: “Blessed are the meek” (Mt 5:5).  Those who attack or overpower others are not blessed, but rather those that uphold Jesus’ way of acting, he who saved us, and who was meek even towards his accusers.  I like to quote Saint Francis, when he gave his brothers instructions about approaching the Saracens and non-Christians.  He wrote: “Let them not get into arguments or disagreements, but be subject to every human creature out of love for God, and let them profess that they are Christians” (Regula Non Bullata, XVI).  Neither arguments nor disagreements: at that time, as many people were setting out, heavily armed, Saint Francis pointed out that Christians set out armed only with their humble faith and concrete love.  Meekness is important: if we live in the world according to the ways of God, we will become channels of his presence; otherwise, we will not bear fruit.

Second: “Blessed are the peacemakers” (v. 9).  The Christian promotes peace, starting with the community where he or she lives.  In the Book of Revelation, among the communities that Jesus himself addresses, there is one, namely Philadelphia, that I think bears a likeness to you.  It is a Church which, unlike almost all the others, the Lord does not reproach for anything.  Indeed, that Church kept Jesus’ word without renouncing his name and persevered, went forward, even in the midst of difficulties.  There is also a significant detail:  the name Philadelphia means brotherly love.  Fraternal love.  Thus a Church which perseveres in Jesus’ word and fraternal love is pleasing to the Lord and bears fruit.  I ask for you the grace to preserve peace, unity, to take care of each other, with that beautiful fraternity in which there are no first or second class Christians.

May Jesus, who calls you blessed, give you the grace to go forward without becoming discouraged, abounding in love “to one another and to all” (1 Thess 3:12).
***************
At the end of the Eucharistic Celebration, the Holy Father greeted all those present before proceeding to the airport for his flight back to Rome. 
 Please find below the Pope’s word of thanks: 
 Before concluding this celebration, which has been a source of great joy to me, I wish to extend my affectionate greeting to all of you who have participated; the Chaldean, Coptic, Greek-Catholic, Greek-Melchite, Latin, Maronite, Syro-Catholic, Syro-Malabar and the Syro-Malankara faithful. I sincerely thank Bishop Hinder for the preparations of this visit and for all his pastoral work.
 A warm thanks also to the Patriarchs, Major Archbishops and all the other Bishops present, to the priests, consecrated persons and to so many lay faithful who are deeply committed, with generosity and a spirit of service, to their communities and to the poorest.

Novena Prayer to Saint Agatha - Patron of #BreastCancer, Virgins, Assault Victims - Share!

Novena Prayer to Saint Agatha, Virgin Martyr. Oh St. Agatha, who withstood the unwelcome advances from unwanted suitors, and suffered pain and torture for your devotion to Our Lord, we celebrate your faith, dignity and martyrdom.Protect us against rape and other violations, guard us against breast cancer and other afflictions of women, and inspire us to overcome adversity. Pray also, Glorious Saint for the special favor we ask through you? (Here state your request) Oh St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, mercifully grant that we who venerate your sacrifice, may receive your intercession. O God, Who dost make the minds of the faithful to be of one will, grant unto Thy people to love that which Thou dost command and desire that which Thou dost promise, that amid the changes of this world, our heart shall there be fixed where true joys may be found. Grant what we ask through the intercession of St. Agatha, we ask it through Jesus Christ Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end.Amen. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be Say for 9 days

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday February 5, 2019 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 324

Reading 1HEB 12:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. 

Responsorial PsalmPS 22:26B-27, 28 AND 30, 31-32

R. (see 27b) They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
"May your hearts be ever merry!"
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
Before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.

AlleluiaMT 8:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
"My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live."
He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured."
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?"
But his disciples said to him,
"You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, Who touched me?"
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official's house arrived and said,
"Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?"
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
"Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep."
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child's father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum," 
which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.