Monday, March 8, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church

 Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 238
Reading I
Dn 3:25, 34-43
Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:
“For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
(Mass starts at the 14:53 Mark on the Video below:)    
 Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord.”
Responsorial Psalm
25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9
R.    (6a)  Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
    teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my savior.
R.    Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
    and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
    because of your goodness, O LORD.
R.    Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
    thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
    he teaches the humble his way.
R.    Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Verse before the Gospel
Jl 2:12-13
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.
Mt 18:21-35
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint March 9 : St. Dominic Savio who Died at age 15 and the Patron of Choirboys, Falsely Accused, Juvenile delinquents

April 2, 1842(1842-04-02), San Giovanni, a frazione of Riva presso Chieri, Piedmont, Italy
March 9, 1857, Mondonio, a frazione of Castelnuovo d’Asti (today Castelnuovo Don Bosco), Piedmont, Italy
12 June 1954 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:
The Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians in Turin (his tomb)
Patron of:
choirboys, falsely accused people, juvenile delinquents,  Pueri Cantores

A boy-saint who died at the age of fifteen, he was one of the best pupils of St. John Bosco for the future of his congregation, and was canonized in 1954. He belonged to a family of ten children of Carlo and Birgitta Savio. Carlo was a blacksmith and Birgitta was a seamstress. When Don Bosco was looking for young men to train as priests for his Salesian Order, his parish priest suggested Dominic Savio. Dominic became more than a credit to Don Bosco's school—he helped to organize those who were to be the nucleus of Don Bosco's order.
St. Dominic Savio was twelve when he met Don Bosco and organized a group of boys into the Company of the Immaculate Conception. Besides its religious purpose, the boys did chores and took care of the school and looked after the boys that no one seemed to pay any attention to. When, in 1859, Don Bosco chose the young men to be the first members of his congregation, all of them had been members of Dominic's Company.
For all that, Dominic was a normal, energenic boy who sometimes got into trouble with his teachers because he would laugh. However, he was generally well disciplined and gradually gained the respect of the tougher boys in Don Bosco's school.
Don Bosco showed him the heroism of the ordinary and the sanctity of common sense. "Religion must be about us as the air we breathe," Don Bosco would say, and Dominic Savio wore holiness like the clothes on his back.
He called his long hours of prayer "his distractions." In 1857, at the age of fifteen, he caught tuberculosis and was sent home to recover. On the evening of March 9, he asked his father to say the prayers for the dying. His face lit up with an intense joy and he said to his father: "I am seeing most wonderful things!" These were his last words.
Prayer to St Dominic - O Saint Dominic Savio, a model of purity, piety, penance and apostolic zeal for youth; grant that, through your intercession, we may service God in our ordinary duties with fervent devotion, and attain the grace of holy joy on earth, that we may one day love God forever in Heaven. Amen. … St Dominic Savio, Pray for Us …

Pope Francis Thanks Our Lady after a Safe Return to Rome from his Trip to Iraq - as is his Tradition

Pope Francis thanked Our Lady after his safe return from his visit to Iraq. As is his tradition, before and after trips, the Pope made a brief visit to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to thank the Blessed Virgin Mary for her protection during his visit to Iraq. Pope Francis returned to Rome on Monday, March 8th, 2021. He expressed his gratitude to Our Lady for her maternal protection. The Pope paused in prayer before the image of Maria Salus Populi Romani. This ancient Roman icon is located in the Borghese chapel at the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Pope Francis brought a bouquet of flowers from Iraq, which he placed on the altar at the foot of Our Lady’s image. According to the Holy See Press Office, he thanked the Virgin Mary for her protection, which he had asked for before he left for Iraq. 
It was also noted that Pope Francis revealed (on the plane) he plans to travel to Hungary for the Eucharistic Congress in September. 
Edited from Vatican News

Top 10 Catholic Women - #WomensDay - SHARE Amazing Stories!

Today, March 8, is International Women's Day. The 1st national "Women's Day" was held on February 28, 1909 in the USA. The International Women's Day was celebrated on March 18, 1911. To celebrate this many hold parades or conferences in honour of women's roles in society. It also serves to call attention to the plight of many women suffering unjustly in many countries world wide.

In honor of women's day; here is a list of
1. MARY, MOTHER OF GOD Mary of Nazareth was born before the 1st century AD. Mary was born to Anne and Joachim. She was the mother of Jesus Christ. She conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit and remained a virgin. The angel Gabriel came to her and announced that she would conceive and bear a son who would be Emmanuel. She proclaimed the famous inspired prayer found in the Gospels: " My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. Shall call me blessed: He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever." (Luke 1: 46) These words are a prediction of that honour which the church in all ages should pay to the Blessed Virgin.  
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. The Bojaxhiu family was of Albanian descent. When she turned 18 she entered the Sisters of Loreto of Ireland. She took the name Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux. She taught in a missionary school in India until 1948. While traveling through India she felt God calling her to serve the poorest of the poor. She received permission to leave her order and began to help the poor with volunteers. In 1950, she was given permission from the Vatican to start the order "The Missionaries of Charity".In 1979, she received the Nobel peace prize for her tireless work for the poor. (picture above)
Her order rapidly spread around the world to care for the poor, sick and marginalized in over 120 countries. She spoke of this ministry in her own words, "I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days."
was born in Victoria, Australia, on January 15, 1842 and died on August 8, 1909. She is also known as St. Mary of the Cross. She founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart with Father Julian Tenison Woods. They focus on education for the poor. She was canonized on October 17, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. (Image: She is the first Australian Canonized Saint. Mary Helen MacKillop was born in Fitzroy, Victoria.
was born near the Rhine River, in Germany, in 1098 and died  on September 17, 1179. She was a visionary, musician, doctor, abbess and theologian.  She founded 2 monastaries. Hildegard composed Ordo Virtutem, the 1st passion play. She was taught in a monastery from the age of 8. Later she became an Abbess. She was the youngest of 10 children. Her books include: Scivias and Vita.
Mother Angelica was born in Canton, Ohio, on April 20, 1923, with the name Rita Rizzo. She founded the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in 1980. She became a novice and then nun with the Poor Clares of Adoration in 1944. In 1962 she founded a house for the Poor Clares in Alabama. Her network has reached over 1 billion viewers world-wide. They run Catholic programming. It also offers a Website and Radio. She Died on March 27, 2016                                 
were African martyrs from Carthage in 202. Both of them were young mothers when they were killed by the Roman Emperor. Perpetua is quoted as saying: "We were in the hands of our persecutors, when my father, out of the affection he bore me, made new efforts to shake my resolution. I said to him: 'Can that vessel, which you see, change its name?' He said: 'No.' I replied: 'Nor can I call myself any other than I am, that is to say, a Christian." Felicity is quoted replying to a guard: "It is I that suffer what I now suffer; but then there will be another in me that will suffer for me, because I shall suffer for him." They and other martyrs were severly tortured; St. Pertua said before death:  "Continue firm in the faith, love one another, and be not scandalized at our sufferings." Their names are mentioned in the Canon of the Roman Catholic Mass. Their feast is on March 7.
7. ST. TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS, born as Edith Stein, was a Jewish woman born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11. She was an academic and worked for a university. In 1917, Edith was converted when visiting a friend; she wrote "This was my first encounter with the Cross and the divine power it imparts to those who bear it ... it was the moment when my unbelief collapsed and Christ began to shine his light on me—Christ in the mystery of the Cross". On 1 January 1922 Edith Stein was baptized. She entered the Carmelite convent of Cologne on 14 October and was clothed in the habit on 15 April 1934.
During the time of Nazi power Edith Stein was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 August 1942, while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. She together with her sister Rosa, who had also converted and was serving at the convent. Her last words to her sister: "Come, we are going for our people". She and her sister were killed in Auschwitz. Her feast day is August 9.
8. ST. ALPHONSA MUTTATHUPADATHU was born on August 19 1910 and died on July 28, 1946. She was a Franciscan Sister. She is the 1st Indian canonized Saint. Alphonsa was from the Syro-Malabar Eastern Rite founded by St. Thomas the Apostle. She was born in Kudamlloor, Kerala, India and spoke Malayalam.  She became a nun in 1936 and though sickly, taught in school for  years. Many miracles are attributed to her. She was canonized on October 12, 2008 and her feast is July 28.
9. ST. THERESE OF LISIEUX was born on January 2, 1873 and died on September 30, 1897. She was born in Alencon, France. Her original name was Marie-Francoise-Therese Martin. She became a Carmelite nun at the age of 15. Her other names were St. Therese of the Child Jesus, of the Holy Face and the Little Flower. She was a sacristan who became ill with Tuberculosis and died at age 24. She and her 5 sisters all became nuns.  Her memoirs entitled Story fo a Soul have become famous. She never left the convent but had an intense prayer life and love of God. She was declared a Doctor of the Church and the patroness of missions. Her feast day is October 1st or 3rd.
10. ST. JOSEPHINE BAKHITA was born in Sudan, Africa, in 1869 and died on February 8, 1947. She was a slave and became a Canossian nun in Italy. She worked for 45 years in Europe. She was born in Darfur to the Daju people; and belonged to a wealthy family. As a young child she was kidnapped by Arab slave traders, severally tortured and enslaved. She was forcibly converted to Islam. After much tortue under her masters she was sold to an Italian Consul who was kind. She moved to Italy with the family and worked in peace for them. She was declared free by an Italian court in 1889. Bakhita was baptised and confirmed in 1890. In 1893 she entered the Canossian Sisters and was welcomed by Pope Pius X. She was cook, sacristan and portress. Her reputation for holiness spread throughout Italy. Her feast is February 8.
Compiled by Miriam Westen, MTS., MATh,MEd

(Images sources Shared from Google Images)

FULL TEXT - Pope Francis Interviewed by Journalists says "I felt the duty to make this pilgrimage of faith and penance..." On-Board Plane to Rome from Iraq + VIDEO


Pope Francis spoke to journalists on his flight back to Rome from Iraq. He emphasized, "Fraternity is the way forward."

During an on-board interview with journalists on the papal flight bringing him back to Rome after his historic visit to Iraq, Pope Francis reflected on his 33rd Apostolic Journey.

FULL TEXT Transcript below the video:

[5-8 MARCH 2021]


Papal flight - Monday, March 8, 2021 

Matteo Bruni:

Good morning, Your Holiness. Good morning to all of you. Thank you for this extraordinary journey that has touched the history of this country, many places and also the hearts of many Iraqis and many who have been able to follow these days, also thanks to the work of fellow journalists. Here is also Mons. Dieudonné Datonou, who worked for the realization of this trip… “the new sheriff”! We also thank him for his work, knowing that he was able to count on the experience of the Travel Office of the Secretariat of State and also on the experience of many pieces of the structure of the Holy See who participate in the organization of the trip. And now, if you like, a word of greeting and then there are a few questions from journalists about these days.

Pope francesco:

First of all, thank you for your work and your company… and for your tiredness!

Then, today is women's day: congratulations to women. Women's day… We said: because there is no men's day… Even in the meeting with the Lady of the President [of the Republic of Iraq], I said: “Because we men are always celebrating, we!”. We need a party for women. The President's wife spoke well of women, she told me beautiful things today: that strength that women have in carrying on life, history, the family… many things.

And congratulations to all!

And third: today is the Cope journalist's birthday, not the other day! Best wishes! And we have to celebrate it ... Then we'll see how ... Now the word is yours.

Matteo Bruni:

The first question, Holy Father, comes from the Arab world, from Imad Atrach, journalist of Sky News Arabia.

Imad Abdul Karim Atrach (Sky News Arabia) :

Your Holiness, two years ago in Abu Dhabi there was a meeting with Imam al-Tayyeb of al-Azhar and the signing of the Declaration on brotherhood . Three days ago you met with al-Sistani: can you think of something similar also with the Shiite side of Islam? And then a second thing: Lebanon, which Saint John Paul II said is more than a country, it is a message. Unfortunately, I, as a Lebanese, tell you this message is disappearing. Are we thinking of a future, imminent visit to Lebanon? Thank you.

Pope francesco:

The Abu Dhabi document of February 4 [2019] was prepared with the Grand Imam in secret, for six months, by praying, reflecting, correcting the text. It was, I will say - it is a bit presumptuous, take it as a presumption - a first step of what you ask me. We can say that this [with al-Sistani] would be the second. And there will be others. The path of brotherhood is important. Then, the two documents: that of Abu Dhabi left in me the restlessness of brotherhood, and [the Encyclical] Brothers all came out Both documents must be studied because they go in the same direction, they seek ... on brotherhood. Ayatollah al-Sistani has a phrase that I try to remember well: men are either brothers by religion or equal by creation. Brotherhood and equality, but we cannot go below equality. I believe it is also a cultural path. Let's think of us Christians, of the Thirty Years War, of St. Bartholomew's night, for example. Let's think about this. How mentality changes between us. Because our faith makes us discover that it is this, the revelation of Jesus is love and charity leads us to this. But how many centuries to implement it!

This is an important thing, human brotherhood, that as men we are all brothers, and we must move forward with other religions. The Second Vatican Council made a big step in this; then also the institutions, the Council for Christian Unity and the Council for Interreligious Dialogue: Cardinal Ayuso accompanies us today. You are human, you are a child of God, you are my brother, period. This would be the greatest indication, and many times one has to take risks to take this step. You know that there are some criticisms: that the Pope is not courageous, he is unconscious, that he is taking steps against Catholic doctrine, that he is one step away from heresy ... There are risks. But these decisions are always made in prayer, in dialogue, asking for advice, in reflection. They are not a whim, and they are also the line that the Council has taught. This about your first question.

The second: Lebanon is a message. Lebanon suffers, Lebanon is more than a balance, it has the weakness of diversity, some still not reconciled, but it has the strength of the great reconciled people, like the fortress of cedars. Patriarch Raï asked me please, on this trip, to make a stop in Beirut, but it seemed a bit too little. A crumb in front of a problem, a country that suffers like Lebanon. I wrote him a letter, made a promise to go on a trip. But Lebanon is in crisis right now, but in crisis - I don't want to offend - in a crisis of life. Lebanon is so generous in welcoming refugees… This is the second trip.

Matteo Bruni:

Thank you, Holiness. The second question comes from Johannes Neudecker of the German news agency Dpa:

Johannes Claus Neudecker (German news agency Dpa):

Thank you, Holy Father. My question is also about the meeting with al-Sistani. To what extent was the meeting with al-Sistani a message also to the religious leaders of Iran?

Pope francesco:

I believe it was a universal message. I felt the duty, in this pilgrimage of faith and penance, to go and find a great, a wise man, a man of God. And only by listening to him can this be perceived. Speaking of messages, I would say: it is a message for everyone, it is a message for everyone. And he's a person who has that wisdom ... and prudence too. He said to me: "For ten years - I think, he told me this way - I have not received people who come to visit me with other purposes, political and cultural, no, only religious". And he was very respectful, very respectful in the meeting, and I felt honored. Even in the greeting: he never gets up, and he got up, to greet me, twice. He is a humble and wise man. This meeting did my soul good. It is a light. And these sages are everywhere, because God's wisdom has been spread all over the world. The same also happens with the saints, who are not only those who stand on the altars. They are the saints of every day, those I call "next door", the saints - men and women - who live their faith, whatever it is, with coherence, who live human values ​​with coherence, brotherhood with coherence. I believe that we should discover these people, highlight them, because there are many examples ... When there are scandals, even in the Church, many, and this does not help ... But we show people who are looking for the path of brotherhood, the saints next door, and we will find people from our family, for sure: some grandfathers, some grandmothers… Definitely! They are the saints of every day, those I call "next door", the saints - men and women - who live their faith, whatever it is, with coherence, who live human values ​​with coherence, brotherhood with coherence. I believe that we should discover these people, highlight them, because there are many examples ... When there are scandals, even in the Church, many, and this does not help ... But we show people who are looking for the path of brotherhood, the saints next door, and we will find people from our family, for sure: some grandfathers, some grandmothers… Definitely! They are the saints of every day, those I call "next door", the saints - men and women - who live their faith, whatever it is, with coherence, who live human values ​​with coherence, brotherhood with coherence. I believe that we should discover these people, highlight them, because there are many examples ... When there are scandals, even in the Church, many, and this does not help ... But we show people who are looking for the path of brotherhood, the saints next door, and we will find people from our family, for sure: some grandfathers, some grandmothers… Definitely!

Matteo Bruni:

The third question comes from Eva Maria Fernández Huescar, of Cope, to whom we still wish.

Eva Maria Fernández Huescar (Cadena Cope 31H):

Holy Father, how nice it is to resume press conferences! It is too good!

These days, his trip to Iraq has had huge repercussions around the world. Do you think this could be the journey of your Pontificate? It has also been said that it was the most risky: were you afraid at some point during the trip? And now that we are back on the road and you are about to complete the eighth year of your pontificate, do you still think it will be short? And then, the great question of all time, Holy Father, the great question: will you ever return to Argentina? And since I am here, I am Spanish: will the day ever come when the Pope comes to Spain? Thank you, Holy Father!

Pope francesco:

Thanks, Eva. I made you celebrate your birthday twice: one early and another late.

I start with the last one, which is a question ..., I understand it ..., because there is that book by my journalist friend Nelson Castro, a doctor: he had made a book on the illness of presidents and I once told him, [when I was] already in Rome: you must do one on the illness of the Popes, because it will be interesting to know the diseases of the Popes, at least of some of recent times. He started doing it; gave me an interview; the book is out. They tell me it's good, I haven't seen it. He asked me a question: "If you resign - if I die or if I resign -, if you resign, will you return to Argentina or will you stay here?" - “I will not return to Argentina - so I said - but I will stay here, in my diocese”. But on that hypothesis - this goes together with the question of when I go to Argentina or why I don't go there - I always answer a little ironically:

But there is one thing that, I don't know why, is not said: a trip to Argentina was planned in November 2017. Work began: we did Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. But then - it would have been by the end of November - but then, at that time Chile was in the electoral campaign, because in those days, in December, Michelle Bachelet's successor was elected, and I had to go before the government changed. , I couldn't go any further. But going to Chile in January and then to Argentina and Uruguay in January was not possible, because January is like our August, July-August, for the two countries. In retrospect, the suggestion was made: why not take Peru? Because Peru had been bypassed on the Ecuador-Bolivia-Paraguay voyage, it was left aside. And from there the January trip to Chile and Peru was born. This I want to say, so as not to have fantasies of "patriaphobia". When there is an opportunity it will have to be done, because there is Argentina, Uruguay and the south of Brazil, which is a very large cultural compound.

Also, about travel: to make a decision about travel, I listen; the invitations are many. I listen to the advice of the councilors and also of the people. Sometimes someone comes and I say: what do you think, do I have to go to that place? It is good for me to listen, this helps me make decisions later. I listen to the counselors and in the end I pray, pray, I reflect a lot, on some trips I have reflected a lot. And then the decision comes from within: face it! Almost spontaneous, but like a ripe fruit. It is a long way. Some are more difficult, others easier.

The decision on this trip comes first: the first invitation from the previous Ambassador, a pediatrician who was Ambassador of Iraq: good, good, she insisted. Then came the Ambassador to Italy, who is a woman of struggle. Then came the new Ambassador to the Vatican, who fought. First, the President had come. All these things remained inside. But there is one thing above, which I would like to mention: one of you gave me the Spanish edition of The Last Girl[by Nadia Mourad]. I read it in Italian. Then he gave it to Elizabeth Piqué to read. Have you read it? More or less… There is the story of the Yazidis. And Nadia Mourad there tells that terrifying, terrifying thing ... I recommend you read it. In some places, as it is biographical, it may seem a bit heavy, but for me this is the tarpaulin [the reason] behind my decision. That book worked inside, inside ... And even when I listened to Nadia, who came here to tell me things ... Terrible! Then, with the book, all these things together made the decision, thinking about them all, all the problems, many… But in the end the decision came and I made it.

Then, the eighth year of the pontificate. I don't know if the trips will slow down or not, I just confess that on this trip I got tired much more than in the others. 84 [years] don't come alone! It's a consequence ... But we'll see. Now [in September] I will have to go to Hungary for the final Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress. Not a visit to the country, to Mass. But Budapest is a two-hour drive from Bratislava: why not pay a visit to the Slovaks? I don't know ... And so things begin ...

Aaron Patrick Harlan (The Washington Post):

Thank you, Holy Father! This trip obviously had an extraordinary significance for the people who were able to see her, but it was the occasion of events that created the conditions for a spread of the virus, in particular towards unvaccinated people, crowded together, while they were singing. When you considered the trip and what it would entail, did you also worry that the people who came to see you might get sick and even die? Can you explain your reflections and forecasts?

Pope francesco:

As I said recently, travels "cook" over time in my conscience, and this is one of the things that made me strong, come on [I was anxious] ... I thought a lot, I prayed a lot about this and in the end I made the decision, freely, that it came from within. And I said: He who gives me to decide, take care of the people. And so I made the decision, like this, but after prayer and after awareness of the risks. After all.

Matteo Bruni:

Thank you. The next question comes from Philippine De Saint Pierre, MC KTO.

Philippine de Saint Pierre (MC KTO):

Your Holiness, we have seen the courage, the dynamism of Iraqi Christians, we have also seen the challenges they face, the threat of Islamist violence, the exodus and the witness of faith in their environment. These are the challenges facing Christians throughout the region. We talked about Lebanon, but also Syria, the Holy Land ... A synod for the Middle East was held ten years ago, but its development was interrupted by the attack on the Baghdad cathedral. Do you plan to do something for the whole Middle East, a regional synod or any other initiative?

Pope francesco:

I am not thinking of a Synod. The initiatives yes, I am open to many, but a Synod did not come to me. She threw the first seed, let's see, let's see what happens.

The life of Christians in Iraq is a troubled life, but not only that of Christians ... I just talked about the Yazidis ..., and other religions that did not submit to the power of Daesh. And this, I don't know why, but it gave them a very big force. There is the problem you say about migration. Yesterday as we drove from Qaraqosh to Erbil, [there were] a lot of people, young people, the age is very very low. Lots of young people. And the question someone asked me: what is the future for these young people? Where will they go? Many will have to leave the country, many. Before leaving for the trip, the other day, Friday, twelve Iraqi refugees came to greet me: one had a prosthesis in his leg because he had escaped under the trucks and had an accident ... Escaped, many, many. Migration is a double right: right not to migrate and right to migrate. These people have neither of them, because they can't not migrate, they don't know how to do it. And they cannot migrate because the world has not yet become aware that migration is a human right.

An Italian sociologist told me, speaking of the demographic winter in Italy: "Within forty years we will have to 'import' foreigners to work and pay the taxes on our pensions". You French have been smarter, you have gone on for ten years with the law in support of the family, your level of growth is very great. But migration is experienced as an invasion. Yesterday I wanted - because he asked for it - to receive, after Mass, Alan Kurdi's father, that child ... He is a symbol, Alan Kurdi is a symbol; that's why I gave the sculpture to FAO. It is a symbol that goes beyond a child who died in migration: a symbol of dead civilizations, of dying civilizations that cannot survive, a symbol of humanity. Urgent measures are needed for people to have work in their own country and not need to migrate. And also measures to safeguard the right of migration. It is true that every country must study well the ability to receive. Because it is not just receiving them and leaving them on the beach; it is receiving them, accompanying them, making them progress and integrating them. Integration of migrants is the key. Two anecdotes: in Zaventem, Belgium, the terrorists were Belgians, born in Belgium but ghettoized, non-integrated Islamic immigrants. The other example, when I went to Sweden, to take leave of the country was the minister: she was very young and had a special physiognomy, not typical of the Swedes. She was the daughter of a migrant and a Swede: so integrated that she became a minister! Let's look at these two things, they will make us think a lot, a lot, a lot. To integrate. On migration, which I believe is the tragedy of the region. I would also like to thank the generous countries, the countries that receive migrants: Lebanon, Lebanon has been generous with migrants, two million Syrians there, I think ... [one and a half million Syrians plus 400,000 Palestinians]; Jordan - unfortunately we will not pass [with the flight] over Jordan - the King is so kind, King Abdullah, he wanted to pay us a tribute with the planes as we passed, I thank him now; Jordan is very generous: more than one and a half million migrants. And many other countries, to mention just two. Thanks to these generous countries! Thank you, thank you very much! he wanted to pay us a tribute with the planes as we passed, I thank him now; Jordan is very generous: more than one and a half million migrants. And many other countries, to mention just two. Thanks to these generous countries! Thank you, thank you very much! he wanted to pay us a tribute with the planes as we passed, I thank him now; Jordan is very generous: more than one and a half million migrants. And many other countries, to mention just two. Thanks to these generous countries! Thank you, thank you very much!

Matteo Bruni:

Thanks Holiness. The next question is in Italian from the journalist Stefania Falasca, of Avvenire.

Stefania Falasca (Future):

In three days, in this country, which is a key country in the Middle East, you have done what the powerful of the earth have been discussing for thirty years. You have already explained what is the interesting genesis of your travels, how the choices of your travels are born, but now in this contingency, also thinking about the Middle East, can you also consider a trip to Syria? What could be the objectives in the next year of other places where his presence is required?

Pope francesco:

On the Middle East, the only hypothesis, and also the promise, is Lebanon. I didn't think about a trip to Syria, I didn't think about it because I didn't get the inspiration. But I am so close to the tormented and beloved Syria, as I call it. I remember at the beginning of the pontificate that afternoon of prayer in St. Peter's Square, there was the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the rosary was prayed ... stop the bombing, at that moment when it was said that there would be a fierce bombing. I carry Syria to my heart. But thinking about a trip didn't occur to me right now. Thank you.

Matteo Bruni:

The next question comes from Sylwia Wysocka PAP - POLSKA AGENCJA PRASOWA.

Sylwia Wysocka (PAP - Polska Agencja Prasowa):

Your Holiness, in these very difficult 12 months your activity has also been very limited. Yesterday he had his first very close direct contact with the people in Qaraqosh: how did he feel? My first question. And then, the second. In your opinion, now, with the whole health system, can general audiences be restarted with the people, with the faithful, as they were before?

Pope francesco:

I feel different when I am away from people in hearings. I would like to resume the general hearings as soon as possible. We hope that the conditions are right, in this I follow the rules of the authorities. They are in charge and they have the grace of God to help us in this. Those responsible are the ones who set the rules. We like it or not, but they are responsible and must do so. Now I have started the Angelus again in the square, with distances it can be done. There is a proposal for small general hearings, but I have not decided until the development of the situation becomes clear. But after these months in prison, because I really felt a bit imprisoned, this is for me to relive. To live again because it is to touch the Church, to touch the holy people of God, to touch all peoples. A priest becomes a priest to serve, in the service of God's people, not for careerism, not for the money. This morning in the Mass there was the [reading] of the healing of Naaman the Syrian, and it says that this Naaman wanted to give gifts after the healing, but the prophet Elisha refused. The Bible continues: and the assistant of the prophet Elisha, then, when they were gone, he arranged the prophet well and ran after Naaman and asked him for gifts. And God said: "The leprosy that Naaman had will now be with you" (cf.2 King5.1-27). I am afraid that we, men and women of the Church, especially that we priests, do not have this free closeness to the people of God, which is what saves us, and we do like the servant of Naaman: yes, help, but then go behind ... Of that leprosy I am afraid. And the only one who saves us from the leprosy of greed, of pride is the holy people of God. The one of which God said to David: "I have taken you out of the flock, do not forget the flock". What Paul said to Timothy: "Remember your mother and grandmother who 'nursed' your faith." That is, do not lose belonging to the people of God and become a privileged caste of consecrated persons, clerics, whatever. For this, contact with the people saves us, helps us, we give the people the Eucharist, preaching, our function. But they give us membership.

She began like this: what I encountered in Iraq, in Qaraqosh ... I did not imagine the ruins of Mosul, of Qaraqosh, I did not really imagine ... Yes, I had seen things, I had read the book, but this touches, it is touching. And then, what touched me most is the testimony of a mother in Qaraqosh. A priest who truly knows poverty, service, penance gave his testimony; and a woman who lost her son in the first bombings of Daesh. You said one word: forgiveness. I was moved. A mother [who says]: I forgive and ask for forgiveness for them. And the trip to Colombia came to my memory, that meeting in Villavicencio, where many people, especially women, mothers and wives, spoke of their experience of the murder of their children and husbands and said: “I forgive, I forgive”. But we have lost this word, we know how to insult great, we know how to condemn great, I for one, we know this well. But forgive! Forgiving enemies: this is pure Gospel. This is what struck me most in Qaraqosh.

Matteo Bruni:

The latest is from Catherine Laurence Marciano, AFP:

Catherine Laurence Marciano (AFP):

Your Holiness, I wanted to know what you felt from the helicopter seeing the destroyed city of Mosul and then praying in the ruins of a church. If I may, since it is Women's Day, I also wanted to ask a little question about women. You have supported the women in Qaraqosh with very nice words, but what do you think about the fact that a Muslim woman in love cannot marry a Christian without being discarded by the family or even worse? The first question was about Mosul. Thanks Holiness.

Pope francesco:

About Mosul I said a little en passant what I heard when I stopped in front of the destroyed church, I had no words. Not to be believed, not to be believed ... Not only that church but also the other churches, even a destroyed mosque. You can see that he did not agree with the people ... Our human cruelty is not to be believed. At this moment, I do not want to say the word, we start again: let's look at Africa, let's look at Africa! And with our experience of Mosul, these destroyed churches and all, enmity is created, war is created, and the so-called Islamic State is starting to act again. This is a bad thing, a very bad thing.

Before moving on to the other question. A question that came to my mind in the church was this: who is selling weapons to these destroyers? Because they don't make weapons at home. Yes, some bombs will do it ... But who sells the weapons? Who is responsible? At least I would ask those who sell the weapons that they have the sincerity to say: we sell the weapons. They don't say it. It's ugly.

Women. Women are braver than men, that's true, that's how I feel. But the woman is humiliated even today. Let's go to that extreme: I don't know who, one of you showed me the women's price list ... I couldn't believe: if the woman is like that, it costs a lot, it costs ... to sell them. Women sell themselves, women enslave themselves. Even in the center of Rome. Work against trafficking is an everyday job. During the Jubilee [of Mercy] I went to visit one of the many houses of Don Benzi's Opera: redeemed girls, one with her ear cut off because she didn't bring the right money that day; the other, brought from Bratislava in the trunk of the car, a slave, kidnapped. This happens among us, the "educated", the trafficking of people. In these countries, some, especially the part of Africa, there is mutilation, there is mutilation as a ritual that must be done. But women are still slaves and we must fight, fight, for the dignity of women. They are the ones who carry the story forward, this is not an exaggeration: women carry the story forward. And it's not a compliment today, on women's day, but it's true. This is slavery, the refusal of the woman ... To think that in a place "x" there has been a discussion as to whether the repudiation of the wife should be in writing or only oral. Not even the right to have the act of divorce! This happens today. But in order not to go away, let's think of the center of Rome, of the girls who are kidnapped and exploited. I think I have said all about this. this is not an exaggeration: women carry the story forward. And it's not a compliment today, on women's day, but it's true. This is slavery, the refusal of the woman ... To think that in a place "x" there has been a discussion as to whether the repudiation of the wife should be in writing or only oral. Not even the right to have the act of divorce! This happens today. But in order not to go away, let's think of the center of Rome, of the girls who are kidnapped and exploited. I think I have said all about this. this is not an exaggeration: women carry the story forward. And it's not a compliment today, on women's day, but it's true. This is slavery, the refusal of the woman ... To think that in a place "x" there has been a discussion as to whether the repudiation of the wife should be in writing or only oral. Not even the right to have the act of divorce! This happens today. But in order not to go away, let's think of the center of Rome, of the girls who are kidnapped and exploited. I think I have said all about this. This happens today. But in order not to go away, let's think of the center of Rome, of the girls who are kidnapped and exploited. I think I have said all about this. This happens today. But in order not to go away, let's think of the center of Rome, of the girls who are kidnapped and exploited. I think I have said all about this.

Matteo Bruni:

Thank you, Holy Father.

Pope francesco:

I wish you a good end of your trip and I ask you to pray for me because I need it! Thank you!

FULL TEXT Source: - Image Screenshot Vatican Media  Youtube channel

US Bishops say “We urge President Biden and the leadership...not to force upon Americans the wrenching moral decision whether to preserve the lives and health of the born or unborn..." FULL TEXT

 U.S. Bishop Chairmen Join Statement on Abortion Funding in American Rescue Plan
MARCH 5, 2021
WASHINGTON— Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been joined by the chairmen of seven USCCB committees in a statement on abortion funding in the American Rescue Plan.
Joining Archbishop Gomez were Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Justice, Peace and Human Development; Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace; Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, of Oakland, chairman for the Committee on Catholic Education;  Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, chairman of the Committee on Migration.
The full statement from the bishops follows:
“Our nation needs to heal, come together, and help one another. The American Rescue Plan is an important step in the right direction. It should provide much needed assistance for American families and businesses hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“However, we are deeply concerned that this important legislation, as written, risks creating new divisions by abandoning a longstanding bipartisan compromise that respects the consciences of millions of Americans.
“For 45 years, the United States Congress – whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans – has maintained that taxpayers should not be forced against their conscience to pay for abortions. Abandoning this compromise in a time of national emergency only serves to divide people in the very moment we should be united. Please, let us instead focus on delivering the COVID relief so desperately needed.
“We urge President Biden and the leadership on Capitol Hill not to force upon Americans the wrenching moral decision whether to preserve the lives and health of the born or unborn, all of whom are our vulnerable neighbors in need. We ask that our leaders please not pit people against one another in such a way. We ask all Members of Congress to include the same protections against abortion funding that have been present in every COVID relief bill to date, and every annual spending bill for almost half a century.”
Source: USCCB

#BreakingNews Pope Francis Arrives Safely in Rome after Trip to Iraq - FULL Video of Farewell Ceremony at Airport

Pope Francis concludes his 33rd Apostolic Journey to Iraq where he went to 6 cities and sites in the north and south of the country. This was the first visit of a pontiff to the Middle Eastern country, which is considered the cradle of civilization. He brought a message of hope, fraternity and peace to all. 

This morning, after celebrating Holy Mass in private, the Holy Father Francis took leave of the staff, benefactors and friends of the Apostolic Nunciature and drove to Baghdad International Airport for the farewell ceremony from Iraq. .

Upon his arrival, the Pope was welcomed by the President of the Republic, Mr. Barham Ahmed Salih Qassim, and by his consort at the entrance of the Presidential VIP Lounge where a short private meeting took place. Then, after the greetings of the Delegations, the Holy Father boarded an Alitalia A330 to return to Italy.

The plane with the Holy Father on board returning from the Apostolic Journey to Iraq, took off from Baghdad International Airport at 9.54 local time (7.54 Rome time) and landed at Rome Ciampino Airport at 12.20.