Saturday, September 14, 2019

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday, September 15, 2019 - #Eucharist - Readings + Video - 24th Ord. Time - C

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 132

Reading 1EX 32:7-11, 13-14

The LORD said to Moses,
"Go down at once to your people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
'This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!'
"I see how stiff-necked this people is, " continued the LORD to Moses.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation."

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
"Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'"
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial PsalmPS 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19

R. (Lk 15:18)  I will rise and go to my father.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. I will rise and go to my father.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. I will rise and go to my father.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. I will rise and go to my father.

Reading 21 TM 1:12-17

I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because he considered me trustworthy
in appointing me to the ministry.
I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant,
but I have been mercifully treated
because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.
Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant,
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Of these I am the foremost.
But for that reason I was mercifully treated,
so that in me, as the foremost,
Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example
for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.
To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God,
honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.

Alleluia2 COR 5:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 15:1-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them he addressed this parable.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”

Then he said,
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him,
and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns,
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”

OrLK 15:1-10

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them he addressed this parable.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”

Feast September 15 : Our Lady of Sorrows - Remembering how Mary suffered with Jesus

The object of these feasts is the spiritual martyrdom of the Mother of God and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son.
(1) The seven founders of the Servite Order, in 1239, five years after they established themselves on Monte Senario, took up the sorrows of Mary, standing under the Cross, as the principal devotion of their order. The corresponding feast, however, did not originate with them; its celebration was enacted by a provincial synod of Cologne (1413) to expiate the crimes of the iconoclast Hussites; it was to be kept on the Friday after the third Sunday after Easter under the title: "Commemoratio augustix et doloris B. Marix V.". Its object was exclusively the sorrow of Mary during the Crucifixion and Death of Christ. Before the sixteenth century this feast was limited to the dioceses of North Germany, Scandinavia, and Scotland. Being termed "Compassio" or "Transfixio", "Commendatio, Lamentatio B.M.V.", it was kept at a great variety of dates, mostly during Eastertide or shortly after Pentacost, or on some fixed day of a month (18 July, Merseburg; 19 July, Halberstadt, Lxbeck, Meissen; 20 July, Naumberg; cf. Grotefend, "Zeitrechnung", II, 2, 166). Dreves and Blume (Analecta hymnica) have published a large number of rhythmical offices, sequences and hymns for the feast of the Compassion, which show that from the end of the fifteenth century in several dioceses the scope of this feast was widened to commemorate either five dolours, from the imprisonment to the burial of Christ, or seven dolours, extending over the entire life of Mary (cf. XXIV, 122-53; VIII, 51 sq.; X, 79 sq., etc.). Towards the end of the end of the sixteenth century the feast spread over part of the south of Europe; in 1506 it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation under the title "Spasmi B.M.V.", Monday after Passion Sunday; in 1600 to the Servite nuns of Valencia, "B.M.V. sub pede Crucis", Friday before Palm Sunday. After 1600 it became popular in France and was termed "Dominx N. de Pietate", Friday before Palm Sunday. To this latter date the feast was assigned for the whole German Empire (1674). By a Decree of 22 April 1727, Benedict XIII extended it to the entire Latin Church, under the title "Septem dolorum B.M.V.", although the Office and Mass retain the original character of the feast, the Compassion of Mary at the foot of the Cross. At both Mass and Office the "Stabat Mater" of Giacopone da Todi (1306) is sung.
(2) The second feast was granted to the Servites, 9 June and 15 September, 1668, double with an octave for the third Sunday in September. Its object of the seven dolours of Mary (according to the responsories of Matins: the sorrow
at the prophecy of Simeon;
at the flight into Egypt;
having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem;
meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary;
standing at the foot of the Cross;
Jesus being taken from the Cross;
at the burial of Christ.
This feast was extended to Spain (1735); to Tuscany (double of the second class with an octave, 1807). After his return from his exile in France Pius VII extended the feast to the Latin Church (18 September, 1814), major double); it was raised to the rank of a double of the second class, 13 May, 1908. The Servites celebrate it as a double of the first class with an octave and a vigil. Also in the Passionate Order, at Florence and Granada (N.S. de las Angustias), its rank is double of the first class with an octave. The hymns which are now used in the Office of this feast were probably composed by the Servite Callisto Palumbella (eighteenth century). On the devotion, cf. Kellner, "Heortology", p. 271. The old title of the "Compassio" is preserved by the Diocese of Hildesheim in a simple feast, Saturday after the octave of Corpus Christi. A feast, "B.M.V. de pietate", with a beautiful medieval office, is kept in honour of the sorrowful mother at Goa in India and Braga in Portugal, on the third Sunday of October; in the ecclesiastical province of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, last Sunday of May, etc. (cf. the corresponding calendars). A special form of devotion is practised in Spanish-speaking countries under the term of "N.S. de la Soledad", to commemorate the solitude of Mary on Holy Saturday. Its origin goes back to Queen Juana, lamenting the early death of her husband Philip I, King of Spain (1506).
To the oriental churches these feasts are unknown; the Catholic Ruthenians keep a feast of the sorrowful Mother on Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi. Text Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis tells Eastern Catholic Bishops to "...aspire to ever greater unity with all who believe in Christ" and "...we are already walking together in the love that heals divisions."

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Your Eminences,
Your Beatitude,
Dear Brother Bishops,

I thank Cardinal Bagnasco for his greeting on your behalf. I am happy to welcome you at the end of your annual gathering, which takes place this year in Rome. Your meeting, organized under the aegis of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe, is a sign of the rich ritual variety of the Catholic Church on this continent, which is not limited to the Latin tradition. Among you, I see many who represent the different Churches of the Byzantine tradition and many from beloved Ukraine. Present, too, are representatives from the Middle East, India and other regions, who have found a welcome in European countries. As the Second Vatican Council observed, “variety within the Church in no way harms its unity; rather it manifests it” (Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 2). In fact, Christian unity is not uniformity. Uniformity is the destruction of unity; Christian truth is not monotonous, but “symphonic”; otherwise it would not come from the Holy Spirit.
A few months ago, during my Apostolic Journey to Romania, I celebrated the beatification of seven bishop-martyrs of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church. It was an occasion that demonstrated how much the entire Catholic Church and the Successor of Peter are grateful for the witness of fidelity to communion with the Bishop of Rome offered again and again throughout history, at times even to the shedding of blood. This fidelity is a precious gem in your treasury of faith, a distinctive and indelible sign. One of the Romanian martyrs reminds us of this. To those who demanded that he abjure his Catholic communion, he said, “My faith is my life”. Catholic communion is part of your particular identity, yet it in no way detracts from that identity. On the contrary, it contributes to its full realization, for example, by protecting it from the temptation of closing in on itself and falling into national or ethnic particularisms that exclude others. And this is a danger of the present time in our civilization: particularisms that become populisms and seek to dictate and make everything uniform.
It is precisely the intercession of the saints and holy martyrs, who experience the perfect communion of heaven, that impels us to undertake a constant path of purification of ecclesial memory and to aspire to ever greater unity with all who believe in Christ. That “they may all be one” (Jn 17:21): this is the ardent desire that amid his passion Jesus bore in his heart, pierced for all on the Cross. Both the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches remind us that you are entrusted with a specific mission on the journey of ecumenism. In these days, you have reflected on the meaning of your ecumenical mission in the present time.
Today, while all too many inequalities and divisions threaten peace, we feel called to be artisans of dialogue, promoters of reconciliation and patient builders of a civilization of encounter that can preserve our times from the incivility of conflict. While so many people allow themselves to be caught up in a spiral of violence, in a vicious circle of demands and constant mutual recriminations, the Lord wants us to be meek sowers of the Gospel of love. In the Christian family, you are the ones who, looking to “the God of all comfort” (2 Cor 1:3), are committed to healing the wounds of the past, overcoming prejudices and divisions, and offering hope to all as you walk side by side with your non-Catholic brothers and sisters. I have had the grace of sharing some powerful moments with them. I think of the prayer for peace in the Holy Land in the Vatican Gardens; the meeting with refugees on the island of Lesvos; the dialogue for peace in the Middle East held in Bari, preceded by common prayer under the protection of Saint Nicholas and of the Holy Mother of God “who shows the way”. I feel that the way shown to us from on high is made up of prayer, humility and love, not of regional or even traditionalist claims; no. The way is prayer, humility and love. By walking together, by doing something together for others and for our common home, let us rediscover, at the heart of our catholicity, the ancient significance attributed to the Roman See, called to “preside over the whole assembly in charity” (Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, Prologue), and to the Bishop of Rome as servant of the servants of God.
Living your ecclesial traditions to the full leads you to draw from the same springs of spirituality, liturgy and theology as the Orthodox Churches. It is beautiful to be witnesses together of such great riches! In the academic world, too, it is possible to promote common programmes of study and cultural exchange, involving young priests in particular, so that they can be trained to have an open mind. Most of all, and in everything, let us help each other to live in love with all. Love knows no canonical or jurisdictional boundaries. It pains me to see, even among Catholics, squabbles about jurisdictions. Please… As the Apostle Paul, who gave his life in this City reminds us, love always has primacy and will never end (cf. 1 Cor 13). When we bend over a suffering brother or sister; when we become neighbours to those who endure loneliness and poverty; when we put at the centre the marginalized – children who will not see the light of day, young people deprived of hope, families tested by being broken, or sick or elderly persons who are cast aside – we are already walking together in the love that heals divisions.
In this way, we prepare to dwell in the one heaven to which we have been called. There the Lord will not seek an account of which or how many territories remained under our jurisdiction. He will not ask how we contributed to the development of our national identities. Instead, he will ask how much we loved our neighbour, every neighbour, and how well we were able to proclaim the Gospel of salvation to those we met along the road of life. So let us ask for the grace to desire this. For only in loving do we find joy and spread hope. It is by loving that we give second place to those secondary realities to which we are still attached – to money too, which is poisonous: the devil comes in through our pockets; don’t forget! – and give pride of place to the only things that remain forever: God and our neighbour.
Have courage, dear brothers; go forward in the spirit of communion! I assure you of a constant remembrance in my prayers. You have a place in my heart, and I ask you, please, to pray for me because I need it. Thank you!

US Vice President Mike Pence says "...remember to pray for America" at Concerned Women for America’s 40th Anniversary Celebration - Full Text + Video

Washington, D.C. – Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization, celebrated and honored 40 years promoting Biblical principles and pro-women policies today at the Trump International Hotel. The Honorable Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States and his wife, Karen, and the Honorable Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas attended and addressed the attendees at the Anniversary Gala. President Trump sent taped remarks to view during the festivities.
Founded by Dr. Beverly LaHaye in 1979, CWA has been instrumental in advocating for their seven core issues: Sanctity of Life, Defense of Family, Education, Religious Liberty, National Sovereignty, Sexual Exploitation, and Support for Israel. (Excerpt from Press Release by CWA)
Official release of Full Text Remarks by Vice President Pence at Concerned Women for America’s 40th Anniversary Celebration
Issued on: September 13, 2019
Trump International Hotel
Washington, D.C.

7:00 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, hello CWA!  (Applause.)  What a great night.  It really is great to be here with all of you for the Concerned Women for America 40th Anniversary Gala.  Getting started on the next 40 years of great conservative women leaders in America.  (Applause.)

And speaking of — speaking of women leaders, I’ve got to tell you, that’s a — she’s a hard act to follow.  (Laughter.)  But I’m used to it.  And I appreciate you all — appreciate you all know the risk I took telling her I wanted to run for public office on our first date.  (Laughter.)  The fact that she went out with me again is evidence of God’s grace — (laughter) — and her patience.

But I’ve got to tell you: She’s an incredible person, a life-long educator, a Marine Corps mom, a champion of military families, even an art teacher at a Christian school.  Would you join me in showing your appreciation one more time — (applause) — for my amazing wife, the Second Lady of the United States of America, Karen Pence?  (Applause.)  Thank you.

And we are really delighted to be here — really delighted to be with all of you on such a momentous occasion.  And let me also bring greetings from a friend of mine, who I know wishes he could be here as well.  He’s someone who, each and every one of you know, gets up every day, and has been fighting for the values that have been synonymous with CWA throughout its four decades.  I bring greetings and congratulations from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)

I’ve just literally left him in the Oval Office and told him I was headed your way.  And I think he — I think he sounded just a little bit jealous.  (Laughter.)  But he wanted me to extend greetings to each and every one of you.

And also let me congratulate a couple of other people, and say you’ve got an incredible program tonight.  And the honoree this evening is a friend of mine.  I have to tell you: She is a champion for working families in the state of Iowa, a former lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard.  She has emerged as one of the most important conservative voices in the United States of America.  Would you join me in congratulating CWA’s 2019 Statesman of the Year, Senator Joni Ernst.  Congratulations, Joni.  (Applause.)  Great job.

And also, I have to tell you, you couldn’t have asked for a better keynote speaker.  He’s someone that I have admired greatly for many years.  And I remember, years ago, when he coined that phrase that he was conservative but he wasn’t mad about it.  (Laughter.)  And he emerged on the national stage after an incredible career as governor of the state of Arkansas, a two-time national candidate.  And he’s someone who has been a champion for the values that everyone in this room has stood for throughout the 40 years of this great organization.  And, by the way, he is a terrific dad, if you didn’t notice that, too.  Would you join me in thanking (inaudible) Governor Mike Huckabee.  (Applause.)  Governor, thank you so much for who you are and the leadership that you have provided.  (Applause.)

I’m just glad I get to speak before dinner and leave, because he’s a hard man to precede.  (Laughter.)  But, Governor, it’s great to see you and great to share the podium with you today.

And I’m here tonight, really, just to say thank you.  Thank you to all of you who have been leading this conservative movement now for more than four decades.  It’s remarkable to think about what this organization and this movement have accomplished over the 41 years.

Forty-one years ago, the conservative movement, in so many ways, was a voice in the wilderness.  But it was back then that an author — a woman in pastoral ministry and a mother of four — was watching television at home one night when she saw an interview with some abortion activists who claimed to speak on behalf of all American women.

And the history of this great organization and movement records that when she heard that, she stood right up there in her living room and said, “She doesn’t speak for me.”  (Applause.)  And that night she laid the foundation for the CWA over the next 40 — four decades.  She continued to build it into the largest women’s public policy organization dedicated to biblical principles in America.  Would you all mind getting on your feet and showing your appreciation for an extraordinary American leader, Beverly LaHaye?  (Applause.)  What an incredible person.

And I know this is Bev’s last gala leading the CWA, but I know she is as confident as each and every one are as well that we’re going to continue see this great organization grow, the momentum of our movement grow.  Under the leadership of your President and CEO of the last nine years, let’s hear it for one of America’s most articulate defenders of conservative values, Penny Nance.  We appreciate your leadership.  (Applause.)

It really is exciting to be with you today.  I just have a few minutes to reflect on the progress that we’ve made, but I do want to say, it’s also — as I mention all of these great women leaders in the country, it’s really great to have 40 Young Women for America chapter presidents with us tonight.  Why don’t you all take a bow?  (Applause.)  Great job.  There they are.  Great.  Proud of you all.  Way to step forward.  Future leaders.

You know, the contributions made by CWA to the conservative movement over the last 40 years are really hard to quantify.  But the truth of the matter is that I hope you can see that, now more than ever, Beverly, the seven values that CWA was founded on have a champion in the White House, in President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)

Think about it.  I mean, when it comes to all of the values you founded this organization on — life and faith and family and liberty and sovereignty — the CWA, I would argue, has never had a greater champion, a greater fighter for our values in the Oval Office.  And you see it in the results.

I mean, when look at the last two and a half years, I think there’s only one way you can describe it.  It’s been two and half years of action.  (Applause.)  It’s been two and a half years of results.  It’s been two and a half years of promises made and promises kept.  But we’re just getting started, CWA.  (Applause.)

I mean, think about it.  Think about it.  We’ve rebuilt our military; restored the arsenal of democracy; and with the strong conservative men and women that you’ve helped elect on Capitol Hill, we’ve renewed American strength.  And we’re finally giving our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources, equipment, and support they need to accomplish their mission and keep our nation safe.  (Applause.)

And with that renewed American strength, we’ve been standing up to our enemies and standing with our allies.  I mean, this President and our troops in the field have taken the fight to our enemies on our terms, on their soil.

You know, yesterday I was Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 met its fate.  The President was at the Pentagon.  We all thought very carefully about the progress we’ve made.  And it’s amazing to think what our armed forces have accomplished over the last 18 years.  They took the fight to our enemies in the mountains of Afghanistan.  Their chief architect met his fate in Abbottabad.  And this year, every last inch of territory controlled by the radical Islamic ISIS was captured in Syria.  (Applause.)

Our allies are also contributing more to our common defense than ever before.  And last year, another principle — another one of those seven values at the foundation of CWA — was proven out in this administration when President Trump did what no American President before him had the courage to do when he moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.  (Applause.)

Under President Donald Trump, if the world knows nothing else, the world knows this: America stands with Israel.  (Applause.)

But beyond our national defense, I’m proud to report we’ve also made historic investments in border security, dealing with the crisis on our southern border and confronting illegal immigration impacting our communities.  (Applause.)

I met just this week with the Foreign Minister of Mexico.  I’m proud to report that Mexico is doing more now than ever before to end the crisis at our southern border.  And in just a short three months, apprehensions at our southern border are already down by more than 60 percent.  (Applause.)  And we’ve already started to build that wall on the southern border of the United States.  (Applause.)

And, of course, under President Trump’s leadership and the support of the conservatives you’ve supported in the Congress, this economy is booming.  Right from the outset of this administration, President Trump kept his promise.  We cut taxes for working families and businesses large and small.  We rolled back red tape at historic levels.  We unleashed American energy and the results have been amazing: 6.3 million new jobs created, the unemployment rate has hit a 50-year low, and it’s the lowest unemployment rate in 65 years for American women.  (Applause.)

I mean, the truth of the matter is, this economy — this economy is booming for everybody, and it’s working and creating jobs that women are filling at every level all across this nation.

In fact, it’s not only a 65-year low for women, but also it is the lowest unemployment ever recorded for African Americans and Hispanic Americans.  (Applause.)  The American Dream is working again, for every American.  (Applause.)

But as CWA has known since its founding, and all of you patrons here know, the source of our prosperity is that foundation of the faith and the ideals of the American people — the things CWA has been all about from the beginning.  And President Trump has been busy strengthening the constitutional foundation and the commitment to those ideals of the American founding from day one.

This President promised to fight judicial activism and appoint conservative judges to our courts at every level.  And with last night’s confirmation of Steven Seeger, President Trump has already seen 150 federal judges confirmed to our courts.  (Applause.)

And I promise you — I promise you, they’re all men and women of integrity who will uphold all of the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, like the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  (Applause.)

And moving these judges through, we’ve had the strong support of CWA.  And let me just take this moment, on behalf of the President and myself and our entire administration, to say how profoundly grateful we are to Concerned Women for America that, just last fall, including many of you here tonight, took to Capitol Hill, took the phone lines, and took to the airwaves, and we confirmed Kavanaugh.  (Applause.)  Justice Brett Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court of the United States.  (Applause.)  Great job.

I’m also proud to serve an administration that has stood so strongly for our first freedom — the freedom of religion.  And I promise you, this is an administration that will always defend the freedom of religion of every American of every faith.  You know, back in 2016, the President promised, as he said, to, quote, “defend your…right to fully and freely practice your religion, as individuals, [as] business owners and [as] academic institutions.”  And that’s exactly what we’ve done.

We’ve taken action to protect the conscience rights of doctors and nurses.  (Applause.)  And after years of neglect, we’ve restored federal enforcement of our nation’s conscience laws.  And we ended the last administration’s assault on the Little Sisters of the Poor.  (Applause.)

And in this White House, we believe the freedom of speech should not end at the front door of our places of worship.  And that’s why this President took action to end enforcement of the Johnson Amendment and free up the pulpits of America.  (Applause.)

And as we’ve stood for liberty and the liberties of every American at a time when leading Democrats advocate late-term abortion and infanticide, I couldn’t be more proud to serve as Vice President to a — for a President who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life.  (Applause.)

You know, Karen and I have long believed that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable: the aged, the infirmed, the disabled, and the unborn.

In one of the President’s very first acts in office — one of his very first acts — he reinstituted the Mexico City Policy to make sure that taxpayer dollars wouldn’t be used to promote or provide abortion around the world.  (Applause.)  And we’ve expanded it since we started.

And I’ll never forget the day — this is true.  Governor, you’ll like this story.  It was our very first maybe month in office and the March for Life was in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain was visiting that day.

And we were talking the day before, and the President was sitting behind the Resolute Desk.  And he said — and they said, “Well, you’ve been invited to address the March for Life, Mr. President, but we have a state visit by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”  And he said, “Oh, well, you know, I won’t be able to be there.  I won’t be able to do that.”  And then, standing there, I looked at him, and I said, “Well, you know, they invited me, too.”  (Laughter.)

And the President looked up at me and he said, “They invited you to the March?”  And I said, “Well, yeah.  I — you know, I’ve gone like a lot…” — (laughter) — “…over the years.”  And he said, “Well, you should definitely go.”  (Laughter.)

So I became the first Vice President in history to have the privilege to address the March for Life, and Karen and I have done it twice. (Applause.)  Isn’t that great?  True story.  Thank you.  What a privilege.  What a privilege it was for us to stand with all of those wonderful young people on that cold day.

You know, and this administration didn’t just stop at those actions and those words.  You know, as Vice President, I get to cast tiebreaking votes in the United States Senate.  And I don’t know if I’ve had a higher honor than the day I cast the tiebreaking vote to allow states in America to defund Planned Parenthood.  (Applause.)  And President Trump signed the bill.  (Applause.)

And if you hadn’t heard about it, just last month, thanks to the President’s leadership, it was announced that tens of millions of dollars of federal family planning funding are no longer going to flow to the largest abortion provider in America.  (Applause.)

And let me say, with so many in Washington standing for late-term abortion and even defending infanticide, I’ll make you a promise.  I see it in his eyes every time the topic comes up.  This President, just like this movement, will always stand for the unalienable right to life.  (Applause.)

And thanks to your support and the leadership of this President and all of our allies in the Congress, life and liberty are winning in America again.  But make no mistake about it — and that’s what tonight ought to be about, and I expect the Governor is going to speak about it as well — we’ve got to be ready in the next year and a half.  It’ll all be evident on the television screens tonight from Houston.

You know, I — (laughter) — it’s eminently miss-able but — (laughter) — you can catch it on replay.

And the truth is, the other side — the other side is motivated.  They’re motivated because of the progress that we’ve made in advancing sound conservative principles, putting them into practice, and seeing the real results for the American people.  They want to undo all of the progress that we’ve made.

Just look at their agenda.  Where we cut taxes, they want to raise them.  Where we rolled back regulation, they want to increase it.  Where we’ve advanced the cause of life and liberty for every American, they want to take America back in the opposite direction.

As we’ll see on the debate stage tonight, the Democratic Party has gone so far to the left, I think that stage is probably going to about turn over.  (Laughter.)  Anybody else feel that way?  I think it’s going to flip.  (Applause.)

But the truth is, all kidding aside, the Democratic Party today has embraced a radical liberal agenda on social issues.  And most remarkably, leading Democrat candidates for national office and in the Congress openly advocate an economic system that has impoverished millions and robbed the liberties of generations.

It’s amazing.  I mean, Democrats today — leading voices in the Democratic Party — openly advocate socialism.  But the members of CWA know it was freedom, not socialism, that gave us the freest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world.  (Applause.)  It was freedom.

It was freedom, not socialism, that ended slavery, won two world wars, and stands today as a beacon of hope for all the world.  (Applause.)  I say to you, the moment America becomes a socialist country is the moment that America ceases to be America.

So, CWA, we must resolve, here and now, that in this next year and a half, we will say with one voice what the President said in his State of the Union Address: “America will never be a socialist country.”  (Applause.)  Never do it.  We got to do it.  And I know we will.

I mean, the truth is, the choice facing this country has never been clearer and the stakes have never been higher.  We’ve made incredible progress in the last two and half years, but now it’s time to redouble our efforts.  I hope you’re here to celebrate tonight.  I hope you’re here to take a moment to think about what’s been accomplished since Beverly stood up in that living room 41 years ago.

But then, like Beverly will no doubt admonish us before we leave tonight, it’s all eyes forward.  The challenges lie ahead.  You know, Penny said it from this podium a few minutes ago and I am often reminded of it.  President Reagan used to say, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

So, men and women of CWA, it’s not going to be enough for us just to win the next election.  We’ve got to win the next generation with a message of life and liberty that CWA can carry all across this country.  (Applause.)

So, over the next 14 months, let’s fight for the values that have made this country great and are making America great again.  (Laughter.)  Let’s continue to speak out and let our voices be heard.

And finally, let’s have faith.  It’s been at the foundation of what CWA has been all about from its very beginning.  I’d encourage you: Just have faith in this President, whose drive and vision have been delivering on the agenda that this organization was founded to advance.

Have faith in the women of America, just as Beverly did when she said, “She doesn’t speak for me.”  Have faith that if we carry our message out, that we’ll find likeminded women across this country who care about the values that have made this country great — who care about faith and family and freedom, and will stand behind men and women standing for public office who will stand without apology with them.

And finally, I just encourage you to exercise that other kind of faith — the faith that I know has carried this remarkable organization.  It’s the first thing Beverly said to me when she saw me tonight, and I know it’s been the secret of this organization from its very beginning.

I think it’s a good time for us, as we look at the challenging days ahead and all the progress that we’ve made, to remember to pray for America, to pray for all those who serve in uniform, all those who serve in harm’s way, and all of us who have the privilege of participating in public life or participating in the public debate.

I really do believe that ancient promise that Americans have clung to throughout our history is just as true today as it’s ever been.  That if His people, who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray, He’ll do like He’s always done in the long and storied history of this miracle of a democracy.  He’ll hear from Heaven, and He’ll heal this land — this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you, CWA.  (Applause.)  Congratulations on 40 years.  (Applause.)  God bless you.  And God bless America.  (Applause.)

Full Text Release from

Pope Francis echoes St. Francis saying "to evangelize: "Go, announce the Gospel, if it is necessary use words" Full Text


Paul VI Hall
Saturday, September 14, 2019

Dear friends,

Thank you for the joy you manifest! Showing joy is a grace of God. We thank the Lord who has sown so much joy in your hearts. I am happy to meet you thirty years after the foundation of your community. The Lord never ceases to surprise us by opening new paths for following Jesus, with the creativity of the Holy Spirit. I thank you for the words you have addressed to me. You are a young community, and for this you carry within you the characteristic enthusiasm of those who wish to share the beauty of having met Christ in their lives.

You carry a challenging name: "Abraham", which inspires the path of evangelization that you are called to carry out in the most diverse conditions in which you come to visit. Do not be afraid to inspire your life and action precisely with the great patriarch Abraham, our father in faith. He teaches you, first of all, to obey the Lord's call. It doesn't matter in what way and under what circumstances the Lord makes himself present in your life. The Lord is creative, he is the Lord of surprises, when we do not expect it comes and shows us different, original ways. He - and He alone! - knows the places and times in which to meet each one. What is important is to listen to his voice. In order to perceive his word, the silence of listening is necessary. You are, I would say, quite noisy when you are together, but the good noise, that of the Holy Spirit, comes from the silence of listening. If there is not the silence of listening, the noise is not an "anointed" noise from the power of the Holy Spirit. As a great bishop, Saint Ignatius of Antioch, wrote to the first Christian generations of Ephesus: "A word pronounced the Father, and he was his Son, and it always speaks in eternal silence, and in silence it must be heard". I wish you always know how to find moments of true silence in your life; this is the secret to being able to listen to God who speaks: silence.

Abraham's faith leads him to leave his land and his home to go to a place that he does not know, but which is guaranteed by the promise of God. To be evangelizers you must trust God and be ready to leave, to go out, but not just once, but to take on an "exodus" style. But we also think of Moses, the same thing ... Think of St. Joseph: I believe that St. Joseph was afraid of falling asleep at the end of his life because every time he fell asleep he had changed his plans! This style of exodus. It is important to go out to meet those who the Lord puts on our way.

When the apostle Peter wrote his first letter, he turned to young communities, perhaps even a little fearful of expressing their faith; yet he urged them to give a reason for the hope received from Christ. He urged us to always do it "with meekness and respect, with a right conscience" (1 Pt 3: 15-16). The meekness that the Holy Spirit gives us makes us witnesses, because the path of the Holy Spirit is not proselytism, it is the witness. If someone comes to proselytize, it is not the Church, it is a sect. The Church that wants the Lord, as Pope Benedict XVI said, does not grow for proselytism, grows by attraction, that is, the attraction of testimony, and behind the witness there is always the Holy Spirit. Here is a methodology that we are called to live in the work of evangelization. We need to walk together with the people of our time, listen to what they carry in their hearts, to offer them, with our lives, the most credible answer, that is, the one that comes from God, through Jesus Christ. To me it is always good to listen to that advice that St. Francis of Assisi gave to the friars when he sent them to evangelize: "Go, announce the Gospel, if it is necessary use words". First with the testimony; then they ask you: "But why are you so?", and then it is time to talk.

Abraham's faith was fruitful beyond all human expectation. And he saw his fulfillment in Jesus, through a humble daughter of Abraham, the Virgin Mary, in whom Christ reflected his "Here I am" to the Father. You too help to be docile to the action of the Holy Spirit, and so your testimony and your enthusiasm will be an effective tool in the service of the Gospel. Go forward, forward in faith and charity, above all towards those who are more marginalized and poor, always trusting in the promise of God.

I accompany you with my blessing. And please do not forget to pray for me: I need it, because this work is not easy! Thanks!
FULL TEXT + Image Source: - Unofficial Translation from Italian

#BreakingNews Government seizes Catholic schools in Eritrea - Bishops protest and ask for Dialogue

AFRICA/ERITREA - Bishops' alarm: The government seize schools
Saturday, 14 September
Asmara (Agenzia Fides) - After having seized hospitals and dispensaries, the Eritrean State is starting to seize schools run by Catholic, but also Islamic and Protestant religious bodies. In the last two years, 29 clinics have been nationalized and, in recent weeks, seven schools (four of which are Catholic). Faced with this forced nationalization, Eritrean eparchies took their stand: Mgr. Mengistheb Tesfamariam, Metropolitan Archbishop of Asmara; Mgr. Thomas Osman, Eparch of Barentu; Mgr. Kidane Yebio, eparch of Cheren, Mgr. Fikremariam Hagos, eparch of Segheneyti. The four bishops in a letter addressed to Semere Re'esom, Minister of Public Education of Asmara, and sent to Agenzia Fides write: "Considering that the actions that are being taken against our educational and health institutions are contrary to the rights and to the legitimate freedom of the Church, and heavily limit the exercise of the postulates of faith, mission and social services, we ask that the recent resolutions are reviewed and the consequent course of action promptly stopped".
The expropriation relies on the law n. 73/1995, in which all the social structures are expected to be managed by the public authority. This provision, which remained on paper for a long time, began to be applied only in recent years. The provision aroused concern and bewilderment in the Catholic community and in the population. Among the seized schools, there are some historical institutions, such as the secondary Institute of the Most Holy Redeemer of the seminary of Asmara, founded in 1860, which over the decades has served hundreds of young people who have worked at the service of the Church and the Country.
"We ask - the bishops write - that all the educational and health institutions of the Church, are allowed to continue their precious and highly appreciated services to the people. If there are situations that need to be corrected or adjusted, not only is it good, but even the only viable way, in order for this to take place in a context of an open and constructive dialogue".
The Church has never escaped dialogue. As the Bishops themselves say: "It has always been in the desires and in the agenda of us Bishops of the Catholic Church to meet with the government authorities to dialogue on everything concerning the situation of our Church and our nation.
We Bishops raise, once again, our voice of protest against the arbitrary and unilateral provision recently taken by the government". (EC) (Full Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 14/9/2019)
Image Source: Google Images of Eritean children

Pope Francis tells Augustinians "A community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open..."

Clementine Hall
Friday, 13 September 2019

Dear brothers,
I welcome you all, gathered in Rome for the General Chapter, and I thank the Prior General for his words.
In this Chapter you have proposed to face the most important challenges of the moment, in the light of the Word of God, and of the teaching of the Church and of the great Father Augustine.
 You are well aware that communities of consecrated persons are places where we want to live the experience of God from a deep interiority and in communion with our brothers and sisters. This is the first basic challenge that consecrated persons face and which today I wish to entrust to you in particular: to experience God together so that we can show God to this world in a clear, courageous and uncompromising way. It is a great responsibility!
I remember the words of Saint Paul VI in the wonderful Exhortation, Evangelica testificatio: “From the beginning, the tradition of the Church—is it perhaps necessary to recall it?—presents us with this privileged witness of a constant seeking for God, of an undivided love for Christ alone, and of an absolute dedication to the growth of His kingdom. Without this concrete sign there would be a danger that the charity which animates the entire Church would grow cold, that the salvific paradox of the Gospel would be blunted, and that the "salt" of faith would lose its savor in a world undergoing secularization” (3).
You Augustinians have been called to witness to that warm, living, visible, contagious charity of the Church, through a community life that clearly manifests the presence of the Risen One and His Spirit. Unity in charity – as your Constitutions also explain well – is a central point in the experience and spirituality of Saint Augustine and a foundation of all Augustinian life. From this perspective, in the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate I wished to recall “the sublime spiritual experience shared by Saint Augustine and his mother, Saint Monica!” (142): a moment in which their souls merged in the intuition of divine Wisdom. We always reread it with emotion on the liturgical memorial of Saint Monica. That desire of the Saint who in the end had what she sought, and even more. That “cumulatius hoc mihi Deus meus prestitit” (Saint Augustine, Confessions, IX,11). This must encourage us to move forward.
“Such experiences, however”, I immediately added, “are neither the most frequent nor the most important. The common life … is made up of small everyday things. … A community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father’s plan” (ibid, 143145).
Certainly, keeping alive this flame of fraternal charity will not be possible without that “in Deum” of your Rule: “Primum, propter quod in unum estis congregati, ut unanimes habitetis in domo et sit vobis anima una et cor unum in Deum” (3). That is, tending towards God. This addition to the expression of the Acts of the Apostles is proper to Augustine, to underline that this is the profound dynamism of your communities, the first great source from which there springs all your service to the Church and to humanity. The anima una et cor unum is born of this perennial Wellspring: in Deum. Your hearts, always tending towards God. Always! May every member of the community be orientated, as the first “holy intention” of every day, towards the search for God, or letting oneself be sought by God. This “direction” should be declared, confessed, witnessed among you without false modesty. The search for God cannot be obscured by other aims, even those that are generous and apostolic. Because that is your first apostolate. We are here – you should be able to say, every day, among yourselves – because we walk towards God. And since God is Love, one walks towards Him in love.
As the dear father Agostino TrapĂ© wrote: “According to the Rule, charity is not only the end and the means of religious life, but it is also its centre: from charity it must proceed and to charity it must be oriented, with a perpetual movement of circular causality, every thought, every affection, every attitude, every action” (Saint Augustine, La Regola, Milano 1971 Ancora, p. 137).
Writing to Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine expressed his own experience of community in this way: “Upon the love of such friends I readily cast myself without reservation, especially when chafed and wearied by the scandals of this world; and in their love I rest without any disturbing care: for I perceive that God is there” (Letters 73,10). And in the face of the scandals of the Church or the scandals of your family too, peace is on this road. Going back to this... and scandals fall by themselves, because they show that there is no other way, this is the way.
It is good to return often to that meditation that Augustine offered to his faithful, in the First Letter of John, where the Church is called by him “mater charitas”, a mother who weeps at the division of her children and calls to and recalls the unity of charity: “Then if you would know that you have received the Spirit, question your heart: lest haply you have the Sacrament, and have not the virtue of the Sacrament question your heart. If love of your brethren be there, set your mind at rest. There cannot be love without the Spirit of God: since Paul cries, The love of God is shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. Romans 5: 5” (ibid., VI, 10).
Your Constitutions refer to this fraternal charity as “a prophetic sign”, and there warning is wise when they say: “We will not be able to accomplish all this if we do not take our daily cross for the love of Christ, with humility and gentleness”. The cross is the measure of love, always. It is true that one can love without a cross, when there is no cross, but when there is a cross, the way in which I take up the cross is the measure of love. That is how it is.
Let us return to the Augustine meditation to listen from him, father and guide, what the via charitas is, in the final analysis: “A new commandment, says the Lord, give I unto you, that you love one another (Jn 13: 34) … What is perfection of love? To love even enemies, and love them for this end, that they may be brethren. … For so loved He who, hanging on the cross, said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Lk 23: 34). … He was fixed upon the cross, and yet was He walking in this very way: this way is the way of charity” (ibid., I, 9).
Dear brothers, this is also the challenge and the responsibility for your today: to live in your communities in such a way as to have the experience of God together, and to be able to show him, living, to the world! The experience of the Lord, as He is, as He looks for us every day. May Mary, mother of Jesus and luminous figure of the Church, accompany you and keep you always. I bless you heartily, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. Thank you.

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 13 September 2019
FULL TEXT + Image Source: - official Translation from Italian

Litany of the Holy Cross - Powerful Prayers Remembering the Sufferings of Jesus

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.

Holy Cross, whereon the Lamb of God was offered for the sins of the world,
Deliver and save us.

Hope of Christians,
Save us, O Holy Cross*

Pledge of the resurrection from the dead,*
Shelter of persecuted innocence,*
Guide of the blind,*
Way of those who have gone astray,*
 Staff of the lame,*
Consolation of the poor,*
Restraint of the powerful,*
Destruction of the proud,*
Refuge of sinners,*
Trophy of victory over hell,*
Terror of demons,*
Mistress of youth,*
Succor of the distressed,*
Hope of the hopeless,*
Star of the mariner,*
Harbor of the wrecked,*
Rampart of the besieged,*
Father of orphans,*
Defense of widows,*
Counsel of the just,*
Judge of the wicked,*
Rest of the afflicted,*
Safeguard of childhood,*
Strength of manhood,*
Last hope of the aged,*
Light of those who sit in darkness,*
Splendor of kings,*
Civilizer of the world,*
Buckler impenetrable,*
Wisdom of the foolish,*
Liberty of slaves,*
Knowledge of the ignorant,*
Sure rule of life,*
Heralded by prophets,*
Preached by apostles,*
Glory of martyrs,*
Study of anchorites,*
Chastity of virgins,*
Joy of priests,*
Foundation of the Church,*
Salvation of the world,*
Destruction of idolatry,*
Stumbling-block of the Jews,*
Condemnation of the ungodly,*
Support of the weak,*
Medicine of the sick,*
Health of the leprous,*
Strength of the paralytic,*
Bread of the hungry,*
Fountain of those that thirst,*
Clothing of the naked,*

Lamb of God, Who wast offered on the cross for the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who wast offered on the cross for the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who wast offered on the cross for the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

V. We adore the, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because through Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Let us Pray:

O God, Who, for the redemption of the world, wast pleased to be born in a stable, and to die upon a cross; O Lord Jesus Christ, by Thy holy Sufferings, which we, Thy unworthy servants, devoutly call to mind, by Thy holy Cross, and by Thy Death, deliver us from the pains of hell, and vouchsafe to conduct us whither thou didst conduct the thief who was crucified with Thee. Who livest and reignest eternally in heaven.     Amen.

Pope Francis tells Police "I therefore thank you for not only being vigilant, but above all for being guardians of the people entrusted to you..." Full Text


St Peter's Square
Saturday, 14 September 2019

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning.
I welcome you and thank the Head of the Department of Prison Administration for his words.
I would like to address you with three simple words, in turn: first of all, to the Prison Police and to the administrative staff, I would like to say thank you. Thank you because your work is hidden, often difficult and unsatisfactory, but essential. Thank you for all the times that you live your service not only as necessary vigilance, but also as a support to those who are weak. I know that it is not easy but when, in addition to being guardians of security, you provide close presence for those who have been ensnared in the nets of evil, you become builders of the future: you lay the foundations for a more respectful coexistence and therefore for a safer society. Thank you because, by doing so, you become, day after day, weavers of justice and hope.
There is a passage in the New Testament, addressed to all Christians, which I believe is particularly suitable for you: “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison” (Heb 13: 3). You find yourself in this situation, as you cross the threshold of so many places of pain every day, as you spend so much time between departments, while you are committed to ensuring safety without ever lacking respect for the human being. Please do not forget the good you can do every day. Your behaviour, your attitudes, your looks are precious. You are people who, faced with a wounded and often devastated humanity, recognize, in the name of the State and society, its irrepressible dignity. I therefore thank you for not only being vigilant, but above all for being guardians of the people entrusted to you, so that, in becoming aware of the evil done, they may welcome prospects of rebirth for the good of all. You are thus called to be bridges between prison and civil society: with your service, exercising righteous compassion, you can overcome mutual fears and the tragedy of indifference.
I would also like to tell you not to be demotivated, even among the tensions that can arise in detention facilities. In your work, everything that makes you feel united is of great help: first of all the support of your families, who are close to you in your labours. And then there is mutual encouragement, sharing among colleagues, which allows us to tackle difficulties together and helps to deal with shortcomings. Among these, I think in particular of the problem of overcrowding in prisons, which increases in everyone a sense of weakness, if not exhaustion. When strength diminishes, distrust increases. It is essential to ensure decent living conditions, otherwise prisons become dustbins of rage, rather than places of recovery.
A second word is for the chaplains, the religious, the religious and the volunteers: you are the bearers of the Gospel within the walls of the prisons. I would like to say to you: keep going. Keep going, when you enter into the most difficult situations with the strength of a smile and a heart that listens, keep going when you load yourself with the burdens of others and carry them in prayer. Keep going when, in contact with the poverty you encounter, you see your own poverty. It is a good thing, because it is essential to recognize oneself first of all in need of forgiveness. Then your own miseries become receptacles of God’s mercy; then, when you are forgiven, you become credible witnesses of God’s forgiveness. Otherwise one risks bringing oneself and one’s presumed self-sufficiency. Keep going, as with your mission you offer consolation. And it is so important not to abandon those who feel alone.
I would also like to dedicate to you a phrase from Scripture, that people murmured against Jesus seeing him go to Zacchaeus, a tax collector accused of injustice and robbery: “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner!” (Lk 19: 7). The Lord went, He did not stop before the prejudices of those who believe that the Gospel is intended for “good people”. On the contrary, the Gospel asks for hands to get dirty. Next, then, with Jesus and in way of Jesus, Who calls you to be patient sowers of His word (cf. Mt 13: 18-23), tireless seekers of what is lost, heralds of the certainty that each person is precious to God, shepherds who put the weakest sheep on their own fragile shoulders (cf. Lk 15:4-10). Go forward with generosity and joy: with your ministry you console the heart of God.
Finally, a third word, which I would like to address to the prisoners. It is the word courage. Jesus Himself says it to you. “Courage comes from the heart. Courage, because you are in God’s heart, you are precious in His eyes and, even if you feel lost and unworthy, do not lose heart. You are important to God, Who wants to work wonders in you. For you, too, a phrase from the Bible: “God is greater than our heart” (1 Jn 3: 20). Never let yourselves be imprisoned in the dark cell of a hopeless heart, do not give in to resignation. God is greater than any problem and is waiting for you to love you. Put yourselves before the Crucified One, before the gaze of Jesus: before Him, with simplicity, with sincerity. From there, from the humble courage of those who do not lie to themselves, peace is reborn; the confidence of being loved and the strength to move forward blossom again. I imagine looking at you and seeing in your eyes disappointments and frustration, while hope still beats in your heart, often linked to the memory of your loved ones. Take courage, never suffocate the flame of hope.
Dear brothers and sisters, to revive this flame is the duty of all. It is up to every society to feed it, to ensure that punishment does not compromise the right to hope, that prospects of reconciliation and reintegration are guaranteed. While remedying the mistakes of the past, we cannot erase hope in the future. Life imprisonment is not the solution to problems, but a problem to be solved. Because if hope is locked up, there is no future for society. Never deprive anyone of the right to start over! You, dear brothers and sisters, with your work and your service are witnesses of this right: the right to hopethe right to start anew. I renew my thanks to you. Keep goingtake courage, with God's blessing, caring for those entrusted to you. I pray for you and I ask you too to pray for me.

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 14 September 2019
FULL TEXT Source: - Official Translation