Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians
Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians
VIDEO MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL PRAYER
"PILGRIMS WITH IGNATIUS" ON THE OCCASION OF THE IGNATIUS YEAR
I am happy to join you in this prayer for the Ignatian Year, the celebration of the conversion of St Ignatius. I hope that all those who are inspired by Ignatius, by Ignatian spirituality, can truly live this year as an experience of conversion.
In Pamplona, 500 years ago, all of Ignatius's worldly dreams were shattered in an instant. The cannonball that wounded him changed the course of his life, and the course of the world. Seemingly small things can be important. That cannonball also meant that Ignatius failed in the dreams he had for his life. But God had a bigger dream for him. God's dream for Ignatius did not center on Ignatius. It was about helping souls . It was a dream of redemption, a dream of going out into the whole world, accompanied by Jesus, humble and poor.
Conversion is a daily matter. It is rarely once and for all. Ignatius's conversion began in Pamplona, but did not end there. He was converted throughout his life, day after day. And this means that throughout his life he put Christ at the center. And he did it through discernment. Discernment does not consist in always succeeding from the beginning, but in navigating and having a compass to be able to undertake the path that has many curves and bends, but always letting ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, who leads us to the encounter with the Lord .
In this pilgrimage on earth we meet others, as Ignatius did in his life. These others are signs that help us stay on course and invite us to convert again each time. They are brothers, they are situations, and God also speaks to us through them. We listen to others. Let's read the situations. We are road signs for others, even us, showing the path of God. Conversion is always done in dialogue, in dialogue with God, in dialogue with others, in dialogue with the world.
I pray that all those inspired by Ignatian spirituality will be able to make this journey together as an Ignatian family. And I pray that many others will come to discover the richness of this spirituality that God gave to Ignatius.
I cordially bless you, so that this year is truly an inspiration to go out into the world, help souls, seeing all the new things in Christ . And also an inspiration to let us help. Nobody is saved alone: either we save ourselves in the community or we don't save ourselves. No one points the way to the other. Only Jesus showed us the way. We help each other find and follow this path mutually.
And bless us Almighty God, in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST
POPE FRANCIS at the REGINA CAELI
St. Peter's Square - Sunday, May 23, 2021
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The book of the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2,1-11) narrates what happened in Jerusalem fifty days after the Passover of Jesus. The disciples were gathered in the Upper Room and with them was the Virgin Mary. The risen Lord had told them to stay in the city until they received the gift of the Spirit from on high. And this manifested itself with a "roar" that suddenly came from heaven, like a "rushing wind" that filled the house where they were (cf. v. 2). It is therefore a real experience but also a symbolic one.
One thing that has happened but also gives us a symbolic message for life.
This experience reveals that the Holy Spirit is like a strong and free wind, that is, it brings us strength and brings us freedom: strong and free wind. It cannot be controlled, stopped, or measured; nor does it predict its direction. It does not allow itself to be framed in our human needs - we always try to frame things - it does not allow itself to be framed in our patterns and our prejudices. The Spirit proceeds from God the Father and from his Son Jesus Christ and bursts upon the Church, bursts upon each of us, giving life to our minds and hearts. As the Creed says: "He is Lord and gives life". He has lordship because he is God, and he gives life.
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus' disciples were still bewildered and afraid. They still didn't have the courage to come out. And we too, it happens sometimes, prefer to stay within the protective walls of our environments. But the Lord knows how to reach us and open the doors of our heart. He sends the Holy Spirit upon us who envelops us and overcomes all our hesitations, breaks down our defenses, dismantles our false certainties. The Spirit makes us new creatures, just as he did that day with the Apostles: he renews us, new creatures.
They, after receiving the Holy Spirit, were no longer the same as before - he changed them - but they went out, they went out without fear and began to preach Jesus, to preach that Jesus is risen, that the Lord is with us, in such a way that everyone he understood them in his own language. Because the Spirit is universal, it does not take away cultural differences, differences of thought, no, it is for everyone, but everyone understands it in their own culture, in their own language. The Spirit changes the heart, widens the eyes of the disciples. It enables them to communicate the great works of God to everyone, without limits, going beyond the cultural and religious boundaries within which they were used to thinking and living. The Apostles enables them to reach out to others while respecting their possibilities of listening and understanding, in the culture and language of each one (vv. 5-11). In other words, the Holy Spirit puts different people in communication, realizing the unity and universality of the Church.
And today this truth tells us so much, this reality of the Holy Spirit, where in the Church there are small groups that are always seeking division, to detach themselves from others. This is not the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is harmony, it is unity, it unites differences. A good Cardinal, who was Archbishop of Genoa, used to say that the Church is like a river: the important thing is to stay inside; if you stay a little on that side and a little on that other side it doesn't matter, the Holy Spirit creates unity. He used the figure of the river. The important thing is to stay within the unity of the Spirit and not look at the little things that you are a little on this side and a little on that side, whether you pray in this way or that ... This is not of God. The Church is for everyone, for everyone, as the Holy Spirit showed on the day of Pentecost.
Today we ask the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to intercede so that the Holy Spirit may descend in abundance and fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle the fire of his love in all.
After the Regina Caeli
Dear brothers and sisters!
I entrust the situation in Colombia, which continues to be worrying, to the prayers of all of you. On this Solemnity of Pentecost, I pray that the beloved Colombian people will know how to welcome the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that, through serious dialogue, just solutions can be found to the many problems that especially the poorest suffer from, due to the pandemic. I urge everyone to avoid, for humanitarian reasons, behaviors that are harmful to the population in exercising the right to peaceful protest.
We also pray for the people of the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, forced to flee due to the eruption of the great Nyiragongo volcano.
The Catholic faithful in China will celebrate tomorrow the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians and the heavenly patroness of their great country. The Mother of the Lord and of the Church is venerated with particular devotion in the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai and is invoked assiduously by Christian families, in the trials and hopes of daily life. How good and how necessary it is for the members of a family and of a Christian community to be ever more united in love and faith! In this way parents and children, grandparents and children, pastors and faithful can follow the example of the first disciples who, on the solemnity of Pentecost, were unanimous in prayer with Mary awaiting the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I invite you to accompany with fervent prayer the Christian faithful in China, our dearest brothers and sisters, that I hold deep in my heart. May the Holy Spirit, protagonist of the Church's mission in the world, guide and help them to be bearers of the good news, witnesses of goodness and charity, and builders of justice and peace in their homeland.
And speaking of tomorrow's feast, Mary Help of Christians, a thought to the Salesians, who work so much, so much in the Church for the most distant, for the most marginalized, for the youth. May the Lord bless them and carry them forward with so many holy vocations!
The Laudato Si ' Year ends tomorrow . I thank all those who have participated with numerous initiatives around the world. It is a journey that we must continue together, listening to the cry of the Earth and the poor. For this reason, the " Laudato si ' Platform" will start immediately , a seven-year operational path that will guide families, parish and diocesan communities, schools and universities, hospitals, businesses, groups, movements, organizations, religious institutes to assume a sustainable lifestyle . And best wishes to the many animators who today receive the mandate to spread the Gospel of Creation and to take care of our common home.
I cordially greet all of you from Rome, Italy and other countries. I see Poland, Mexico, Chile, Panama and many others here… I see flags there: Colombia. Thanks for being present! In particular, I greet the young people of the Focolare Movement… These Focolare are noisy! And the participants in the "Walk of friendship with the forces of order".
I wish everyone a happy Sunday. And please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye. Many greetings to you!
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va
AsiaNews report: In Xinxiang, China, the bishop, seven priests and 10 seminarians were arrested; Bishop Zhang Weizhu has been imprisoned on other occasions. A large number of policemen broke into the factory that served as a seminary and arrested the students and professors.
In the space of just two days, almost all the ecclesiastical personnel of the apostolic prefecture of Xinxiang were wiped out with an operation by the police forces of the province of Hebei. Yesterday, on the 21st of May the bishop Msgr. Zhang Weizhu; the day before, seven priests and 10 seminarians were arrested.
On the early afternoon of May 20, at least 100 policemen from Hebei province - from Cangzhou, Hejian, and Shaheqiao - surrounded the building used as a diocesan seminary in Shaheqiao (Hebei). Xinxiang, in fact, used a small factory owned by a Hebei Catholic as a seminary. The police entered the building and arrested four priests, seminary professors, and three other priests who carry out pastoral work. Together with them, 10 seminarians who attended lessons in the factory were arrested.
Following the directives of the New Regulations on religious activities, the factory was closed and the director of the company was arrested.
The apostolic prefecture of Xinxiang is not recognized by the Chinese government. As a result the activities of priests, seminarians and faithful are considered "illegal" and "criminal".
After the raid, the policemen confiscated all the personal effects of the priests and seminarians.
Given the huge deployment of police forces, the raid is thought to have been planned for some time. The civil authorities believe that there are other seminarians who have managed to escape and are looking for them in the surrounding area.
Public security and police are going from house to house in search of them. If they discover that there are signs attributable to the Catholic faith (crosses, statues, sacred images, photos of the pope, etc.), the owners are fined and the objects seized and destroyed.
According to many observers, since the signing of the provisional agreement between China and the Holy See, the persecution of Catholics - especially the unofficial ones - has increased. The Agreement concerns only the appointment of new bishops, but had a premise that all outstanding issues regarding the life of the Church would remain on standby, to be addressed later in further dialogue between the two parties. Instead the police forces have placed bishops under house arrest, imposed very high fines on the faithful, expelled parish priests from churches, arrested priests and seminarians. For many faithful "the Agreement has been betrayed".
Mgr Giuseppe Zhang Weizhu, 63, was ordained a bishop in 1991 and has suffered several periods of imprisonment. The apostolic prefecture of Xinxiang has 100,000 faithful.
Full Text Source: Asia News IT
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
St Peter's Basilica
Solemnity of Pentecost - Sunday, 23 May 2021
“When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send to you from the Father…” (Jn 15:26). With these words, Jesus promises to send his disciples the Holy Spirit, the ultimate gift, the gift of gifts. He uses an unusual and mysterious word to describe the Spirit: Paraclete. Today let us reflect on this word, which is not easy to translate, for it has a number of meanings. Essentially, it means two things: Comforter and Advocate.
The Paraclete is the Comforter. All of us, particularly at times of difficulty like those we are presently experiencing due to the pandemic, look for consolation. Often, though, we turn only to earthly comforts, ephemeral comforts that quickly fade. Today, Jesus offers us heavenly comfort, the Holy Spirit, who is “of comforters the best” (Sequence). What is the difference? The comforts of the world are like a pain reliever: they can give momentary relief, but not cure the illness we carry deep within. They can soothe us, but not heal us at the core. They work on the surface, on the level of the senses, but hardly touch our hearts. Only someone who makes us feel loved for who we are can give peace to our hearts. The Holy Spirit, the love of God, does precisely that. He comes down within us; as the Spirit, he acts in our spirit. He comes down “within the heart”, as “the soul’s most welcome guest” (ibid). He is the very love of God, who does not abandon us; for being present to those who are alone is itself a source of comfort.
Dear sister, dear brother, if you feel the darkness of solitude, if you feel that an obstacle within you blocks the way to hope, if your heart has a festering wound, if you can see no way out, then open your heart to the Holy Spirit. Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “where the trials are greater, he brings greater comfort, not like the world, which comforts and flatters us when things go well, but derides and condemns us when they do not” (Homily in the Octave of the Ascension). That is what the world does, that is especially what the hostile spirit, the devil, does. First, he flatters us and makes us feel invincible (for the blandishments of the devil feed our vanity); then he flings us down and makes us feel that we are failures. He toys with us. He does everything to cast us down, whereas the Spirit of the risen Lord wants to raise us up. Look at the apostles: they were alone that morning, alone and bewildered, cowering behind closed doors, living in fear and overwhelmed by their weaknesses, failings and their sins, for they had denied Christ. The years they had spent with Jesus had not changed them: they were no different than they had been. Then, they received the Spirit and everything changed: the problems and failings remained, yet they were no longer afraid of those them, nor of any who would be hostile to them. They sensed comfort within and they wanted to overflow with the comfort of God. Before, they were fearful; now their only fear was that of not testifying to the love they had received. Jesus had foretold this: “[The Spirit] will testify on my behalf; you also are to testify” (Jn 15:26-27).
Let us go another step. We too are called to testify in the Holy Spirit, to become paracletes, comforters. The Spirit is asking us to embody the comfort he brings. How can we do this? Not by making great speeches, but by drawing near to others. Not with trite words, but with prayer and closeness. Let us remember that closeness, compassion and tenderness are God’s “trademark”, always. The Paraclete is telling the Church that today is the time for comforting. It is more the time for joyfully proclaiming the Gospel than for combatting paganism. It is the time for bringing the joy of the Risen Lord, not for lamenting the drama of secularization. It is the time for pouring out love upon the world, yet not embracing worldliness. It is more the time for testifying to mercy, than for inculcating rules and regulations. It is the time of the Paraclete! It is the time of freedom of heart, in the Paraclete.
The Paraclete is also the Advocate. In Jesus’ day, advocates did not do what they do today: rather than speaking in the place of defendants, they simply stood next to them and suggested arguments they could use in their own defence. That is what the Paraclete does, for he is “the spirit of truth” (v. 26). He does not take our place, but defends us from the deceits of evil by inspiring thoughts and feelings. He does so discreetly, without forcing us: he proposes but does not impose. The spirit of deceit, the evil one, does the opposite: he tries to force us; he wants to make us think that we must always yield to the allure and the promptings of vice. Let us try to accept three suggestions that are typical of the Paraclete, our Advocate. They are three fundamental antidotes to three temptations that today are so widespread.
The first advice offered by the Holy Spirit is, “Live in the present”. The present, not the past or the future. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of today, against the temptation to let ourselves be paralyzed by rancour or memories of the past, or by uncertainty or fear about the future. The Spirit reminds us of the grace of the present moment. There is no better time for us: now, here and now, is the one and only time to do good, to make our life a gift. Let us live in the present!
The Spirit also tells us, “Look to the whole”. The whole, not the part. The Spirit does not mould isolated individuals, but shapes us into a Church in the wide variety of our charisms, into a unity that is never uniformity. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of the whole. There, in the whole, in the community, the Spirit prefers to work and to bring newness. Let us look at the apostles. They were all quite different. They included, for example, Matthew, a tax collector who collaborated with the Romans, and Simon called the zealot, who fought them. They had contrary political ideas, different visions of the world. Yet once they received the Spirit, they learned to give primacy not to their human viewpoints but to the “whole” that is God’s plan. Today, if we listen to the Spirit, we will not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left. When those become our criteria, then the Church has forgotten the Spirit. The Paraclete impels us to unity, to concord, to the harmony of diversity. He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another. Let us look to the whole! The enemy wants diversity to become opposition and so he makes them become ideologies. Say no to ideologies, yes to the whole.
The third advice of the Spirit is, “Put God before yourself”. This is the decisive step in the spiritual life, which is not the sum of our own merits and achievements, but a humble openness to God. The Spirit affirms the primacy of grace. Only by emptying ourselves, do we leave room for the Lord; only by giving ourselves to him, do we find ourselves; only by becoming poor in spirit, do we become rich in the Holy Spirit. This is also true of the Church. We save no one, not even ourselves, by our own efforts. If we give priority to our own projects, our structures, our plans for reform, we will be concerned only about effectiveness, efficiency, we will think only in horizontal terms and, as a result, we will bear no fruit. An “-ism” is an ideology that divides and separates. The Church is human, but it is not merely a human organization, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus brought the fire of the Spirit to the earth and the Church is reformed by the anointing of grace, the gratuity of the anointing of grace, the power of prayer, the joy of mission and the disarming beauty of poverty. Let us put God in first place!
Holy Spirit, Paraclete Spirit, comfort our hearts. Make us missionaries of your comfort, paracletes of your mercy before the world. Our Advocate, sweet counsellor of the soul, make us witnesses of the “today” of God, prophets of unity for the Church and humanity, and apostles grounded in your grace, which creates and renews all things. Amen.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Official Translation
Vatican News reports that on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at the Vatican Pope Francis met with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who spoke to Vatican News in this exclusive interview. (See below)
By Vatican News staff writer
During their private meeting, Pope Francis and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted the good bilateral relations between the Holy See and the European Union, including the initiatives underway to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
A statement by the Holy See Press Office also mentioned their discussions on human and social development issues affecting the continent, also in view of the recently launched Conference on the Future of Europe. Both leaders also looked at other issues of common interest, such as the social consequences of the pandemic, and the topics of migration, climate change, and recent developments in the Middle East.
Von der Leyen later met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
Vatican News’ Mario Galgano met up with Ursula von der Leyen and asked her a number of questions on these topics.
Edited from Vatican News
2. Veni, Creator Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest) One of the most widely used hymns in the Church, Veni, Creator Spiritus, is attributed to Rabanus Maurus; (776-856). It is used at Vespers, Pentecost, Dedication of a Church, Confirmation, and Holy Orders and whenever the Holy Spirit is solemnly invoked. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it. A plenary indulgence is granted if it is recited on January 1st or on the feast of Pentecost. Veni, Creator Spiritus, mentes tuorum visita, imple superna gratia quae tu creasti pectora. Qui diceris Paraclitus, altissima donum Dei, fons vivus, ignis, caritas, et spiritalis unctio. Tu, septiformis munere, digitus paternae dexterae, Tu rite promissum Patris, sermone ditans guttura. Accende lumen sensibus: infunde amorem cordibus:infirma nostri corporis virtute firmans perpeti. Hostem repellas longius, pacemque dones protinus:ductore sic te praevio vitemus omne noxium. Per te sciamus da Patrem, noscamus atque Filium; Teque utrisque Spiritum credamus omni tempore. Deo Patri sit gloria, et Filio, qui a mortuis surrexit, ac Paraclito, in saeculorum saecula. Amen.
|1. Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew,|
that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do.
2. Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure,
until with thee I will one will, to do and to endure.
3. Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly thine,
till all this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine.
4. Breathe on me, Breath of God, so shall I never die,
but live with thee the perfect life of thine eternity.
4.Veni Sancte Spiritus, sometimes called the "Golden Sequence," is a sequence prescribed in the Roman Liturgy for the Masses of Pentecostand its octave.Latin text