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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

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2015

#PopeFrancis "Evangelization can be a way to unite our hopes..." #Homily + Mass Video


Read Full Homily of the Pope's Tuesday Mass in Quito 2015-07-07 READ FULL HOMILY:
The word of God calls us to live in unity, that the world may believe.
I think of those hushed words of Jesus during the Last Supper as more of a shout, a cry rising up from this Mass which we are celebrating in Bicentennial Park. The bicentennial which this Park commemorates was that of Latin America’s cry for independence.
It was a cry which arose from being conscious of a lack of freedom, of exploitation and despoliation, of being "subject to the passing whims of the powers that be” (Evangelii Gaudium, 213).
I would like to see these two cries joined together, under the beautiful challenge of evangelization. We evangelize not with grand words, or complicated concepts, but with "the joy of the Gospel”, which "fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. For those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness” (ibid., 1). We who are gathered here at table with Jesus are ourselves a cry, a shout born of the conviction that his presence leads us to unity, "pointing to a horizon of beauty and inviting others to a delicious banquet” (ibid., 15).
"Father, may they be one... so that the world may believe”. This was Jesus’ prayer as he raised his eyes to heaven. This petition arose in a context of mission: "As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world”. At that moment, the Lord was experiencing in his own flesh the worst of this world, a world he nonetheless loved dearly. Knowing full well its intrigues, its falsity and its betrayals, he did not turn away, he did not complain. We too encounter daily a world torn apart by wars and violence. It would be facile to think that division and hatred only concern struggles between countries or groups in society. Rather, they are a manifestation of that "widespread individualism” which divides us and sets us against one another (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 99), that legacy of sin lurking in the heart of human beings, which causes so much suffering in society and all of creation. But is it precisely this troubled world into which Jesus sends us.
We must not respond with nonchalance, or complain we do not have the resources to do the job, or that the problems are too big. Instead, we must respond by taking up the cry of Jesus and accepting the grace and challenge of being builders of unity. There was no shortage of conviction or strength in that cry for freedom which arose a little more than two hundred years ago. But history tells us that it only made headway once personal differences were set aside, together with the desire for power and the inability to appreciate other movements of liberation which were different yet not thereby opposed.
Evangelization can be a way to unite our hopes, concerns, ideals and even utopian visions. We believe this and we make it our cry. I have already said that, "in our world, especially in some countries, different forms of war and conflict are re-emerging, yet we Christians remain steadfast in our intention to respect others, to heal wounds, to build bridges, to strengthen relationships and to ‘bear one another’s burdens’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 67). The desire for unity involves the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, the conviction that we have an immense treasure to share, one which grows stronger from being shared, and becomes ever more sensitive to the needs of others (cf. ibid., 9). Hence the need to work for inclusivity at every level, to avoid forms of selfishness, to build communication and dialogue, to encourage collaboration.
We need to give our hearts to our companions along the way, without suspicion or distrust. "Trusting others is an art, and peace is an art” (ibid., 244). Our unity can hardly shine forth if spiritual worldliness makes us feud among ourselves in a futile quest for power, prestige, pleasure or economic security. Such unity is already an act of mission, "that the world may believe”. Evangelization does not consist in proselytizing, but in attracting by our witness those who are far off, in humbly drawing near to those who feel distant from God and the Church, those who are fearful or indifferent, and saying to them: "The Lord, with great respect and love, is also calling you to be a part of his people” (Evangelii Gaudium, 113). The Church’s mission as sacrament of salvation also has to do with her identity as a pilgrim people called to embrace all the nations of the earth. people called to embrace all the nations of the earth. The more intense the communion between us, the more effective our mission becomes (cf. John Paul II, Pastores Gregis, 22). Becoming a missionary Church requires constantly fostering communion, since mission does not have to do with outreach alone… We also need to be missionaries within the Church, showing that she is "a mother who reaches out, a welcoming home, a constant school of missionary communion” (Aparecida Document, 370). Jesus’ prayer can be realized because he has consecrated us. "For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth”. The spiritual life of an evangelizer is born of this profound truth, which should not be confused with a few comforting religious exercises. Jesus consecrates us so that we can encounter him personally. And this encounter leads us in turn to encounter others, to become involved with our world and to develop a passion for evangelization (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 78). Intimacy with God, in itself incomprehensible, is revealed by images which speak to us of communion, communication, self-giving and love. For that reason, the unity to which Jesus calls us is not uniformity, but rather a "multifaceted and inviting harmony” (Evangelii Gaudium, 117).
The wealth of our differences, our diversity which becomes unity whenever we commemorate Holy Thursday, makes us wary of all totalitarian, ideological or sectarian schemes. Nor is this unity something we can fashion as we will, setting conditions, choosing who can belong and who cannot. Jesus prays that we will all become part of a great family in which God is our Father and all of us are brothers and sisters. This is not about having the same tastes, the same concerns, the same gifts. We are brothers and sisters because God created us out of love and destined us, purely of his own initiative, to be his sons and daughters (cf. Eph 1:5). We are brothers and sisters because "God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying "Abba! Father!” (Gal 4:6). We are brothers and sisters because, justified by the blood of Christ Jesus (cf. Rom 5:9), we have passed from death to life and been made "coheirs” of the promise (cf. Gal 3:26-29; Rom 8:17). That is the salvation which God makes possible for us, and which the Church proclaims with joy: to be part of the divine "we”.
Our cry, in this place linked to the original cry for freedom in this country, echoes that of Saint Paul: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). It is a cry every bit as urgent and pressing as was the cry for independence. It is similarly thrilling in its ardor.
May each of you be a witness to a fraternal communion which shines forth in our world! How beautiful it would be if all could admire how much we care for one another, how we encourage and help each other. Giving of ourselves establishes an interpersonal relationship; we do not give "things” but our very selves. In any act of giving, we give ourselves.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. July 8, 2015

Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 385

Reading 1GN 41:55-57; 42:5-7A, 17-24A

When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt
and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread,
Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph
and do whatever he told them.
When the famine had spread throughout the land,
Joseph opened all the cities that had grain
and rationed it to the Egyptians,
since the famine had gripped the land of Egypt.
In fact, all the world came to Joseph to obtain rations of grain,
for famine had gripped the whole world.

The sons of Israel were among those
who came to procure rations.

It was Joseph, as governor of the country,
who dispensed the rations to all the people.
When Joseph’s brothers came and knelt down before him
with their faces to the ground,
he recognized them as soon as he saw them.
But Joseph concealed his own identity from them
and spoke sternly to them.

With that, he locked them up in the guardhouse for three days.

On the third day Joseph said to his brothers:
“Do this, and you shall live; for I am a God-fearing man.
If you have been honest,
only one of your brothers need be confined in this prison,
while the rest of you may go
and take home provisions for your starving families.
But you must come back to me with your youngest brother.
Your words will thus be verified, and you will not die.”
To this they agreed.
To one another, however, they said:
“Alas, we are being punished because of our brother.
We saw the anguish of his heart when he pleaded with us,
yet we paid no heed;
that is why this anguish has now come upon us.”
Reuben broke in,
“Did I not tell you not to do wrong to the boy?
But you would not listen!
Now comes the reckoning for his blood.”
The brothers did not know, of course,
that Joseph understood what they said,
since he spoke with them through an interpreter.
But turning away from them, he wept.

Responsorial PsalmPS 33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19

R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

AlleluiaMK 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand:
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 10:1-7

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:
first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew;
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew,
Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot
who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

#PopeFrancis "Let us love it by our actions more than by our words!" to #Leaders - FULL TEXT


Pope Francis on Tuesday. A  meeting with Political, Economic, and Civic Leaders at Saint Francis Church in Quito, Ecuador. Official English translation of the prepared remarks of Pope Francis:
Meeting with Political, Economic and Civic Leaders Saint Francis Church, Quito Tuesday, 7 July 2015
Dear Friends,
I am pleased to be with you, men and women who represent and advance the social, political and economic life of this country.
As I entered this church, the Mayor of Quito gave me the keys to the city. So I can say that here, in Saint Francis of Quito, I feel at home. His expression of affectionate closeness, opening your doors to me, allows me to speak, in turn, about a few other keys: keys to our life in society, beginning with family life.
Our society benefits when each person and social group feels truly at home. In a family, parents, grandparents and children feel at home; no one is excluded. If someone has a problem, even a serious one, even if he brought it upon himself, the rest of the family comes to his assistance; they support him. His problems are theirs. Should it not be the same in society? Our relationships in society and political life, though, are often based on confrontation and the attempt to eliminate our opponents. My position, my ideas and my plans will move forward if I can prevail over others and impose my will. Is this the way a family should be? In families, everyone contributes to the common purpose, everyone works for the common good, not denying each person’s individuality but encouraging and supporting it. The joys and sorrows of each are felt by all. That is what it means to be a family! If only we could view our political opponents or neighbors in the same way we view our children or our spouse, mother or father! Do we love our society? Do we love our country, the community which we are trying to build? Do we love it in the abstract, in theory? Let us love it by our actions more than by our words! In every person, in concrete situations, in our life together, love always leads to communication, never to isolation. This feeling can give rise to small gestures which strengthen personal bonds. I have often spoken the importance of the family as the primary cell of society. In the family, we find the basic values of love, fraternity and mutual respect, which translate into essential values for society as a whole: gratitude, solidarity and subsidiarity.
Parents know that all their children are equally loved, even though each has his or her own character. But when children refuse to share what they have freely received, this relationship breaks down. The love of their parents helps children to overcome their selfishness, to learn to live with others, to yield and be patient. In the wider life of society we come to see that “gratuitousness” is not something extra, but rather a necessary condition of justice. Who we are, and what we have, has been given to us so that we can place it at the service of others. Our task is to make it bear fruit in good works. The goods of the earth are meant for everyone, and however much someone may parade his property, it has a social mortgage. In this way we move beyond purely economic justice, based on commerce, towards social justice, which upholds the fundamental human right to a dignified life. The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits. As stewards of these riches which we have received, we have an obligation toward society as a whole and towards future generations. We cannot bequeath this heritage to them without proper care for the environment, without a sense of gratuitousness born of our contemplation of the created world. Among us today are some of our brothers and sisters representing the indigenous peoples of the Equatorial Amazon. That region is one of the “richest areas both in the number of species and in endemic, rare or less protected species… it requires greater protection because of its immense importance for the global ecosystem… it possesses an enormously complex biodiversity which is almost impossible to appreciate fully, yet when [such woodlands] are burned down or leveled for purposes of cultivation, within the space of a few years countless species are lost and the areas frequently become arid wastelands” (cf. Laudato Si’, 37-38). Ecuador – together with other countries bordering the Amazon – has an opportunity to become a teacher of integral ecology. We received this world as an inheritance from past generations, but also as a loan from future generations, to whom we will have to return it!
Out of the family’s experience of fraternity is born solidarity in society, which does not only consist in giving to those in need, but in feeling responsible for one another. If we see others as our brothers and sisters, then no one can be left out or set aside.
Ecuador, like many Latin American nations, is now experiencing profound social and cultural changes, new challenges which need to be faced by every sector of society. Migration, overcrowded cities, consumerism, crises in the family, unemployment and pockets of poverty: all these factors create uncertainty and tensions which threaten social harmony. Laws and regulations, as well as social planning, need to aim at inclusion, create opportunities for dialogue and encounter, while leaving behind all forms of repression, excessive control or loss of freedom as painful past memories. Hoping in a better future calls for offering real opportunities to people, especially young people, creating employment, and ensuring an economic growth which is shared by all (rather than simply existing on paper, in macroeconomic statistics), and promoting a sustainable development capable of generating a solid and cohesive social fabric.
Finally, the respect for others which we learn in the family finds social expression in subsidiarity. To recognize that our choices are not necessarily the only legitimate ones is a healthy exercise in humility. In acknowledging the goodness inherent in others, even with their limitations, we see the richness present in diversity and the value of complementarity. Individuals and groups have the right to go their own way, even though they may sometimes make mistakes. In full respect for that freedom, civil society is called to help each person and social organization to take up its specific role and thus contribute to the common good. Dialogue is needed and is fundamental for arriving at the truth, which cannot be imposed, but sought with a sincere and critical spirit. In a participatory democracy, each social group, indigenous peoples, Afro-Ecuadorians, women, civic associations and those engaged in public service are all indispensable participants in this dialogue. The walls, patios and cloisters of this city eloquently make this point: rooted in elements of Incan and Caranqui culture, beautiful in their proportions and shapes, boldly and strikingly combining different styles, the works of art produced by the “Quito school” sum up that great dialogue, with its successes and failures, which is Ecuador’s history. Today we see how beautiful it is. If the past was marked by errors and abuses – how can we deny it! – we can say that the amalgamation which resulted radiates such exuberance that we can look to the future with great hope.
The Church wishes for her part to cooperate in the pursuit of the common good, through her social and educational works, promoting ethical and spiritual values, and serving as a prophetic sign which brings a ray of light and hope to all, especially those most in need.
Thank you for being here, for listening to me. I ask you please to carry my words of encouragement to the different communities and groups which you represent. May the Lord grant that the civil society which you represent will always be a fitting setting for experiencing and practicing these values of which I have spoken.

#PopeFrancis "Educational communities play an essential role..." to #Teachers - #Students - FULL TEXT

(Vatican Radio) On Tuesday afternoon, Pope Francis travelled to the Catholic University of Ecuador for an encounter with “The World of Schools and Universities.” The meeting included songs, prayers, and testimonies, and concluded with an address by the Holy Father.
Below, please find the full text of the Pope’s remarks:
Meeting with Educators
Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador
Quito
Tuesday, 7 July 2015
My Brother Bishops,
Father Rector,
Distinguished Authorities,
Dear Professors and Students,
Dear Friends,
I am very happy to be here with you this afternoon at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, which for almost sixty years has helped to further the Church’s educational mission in service to the men and women of this country. I am grateful for your kind words of welcome, which expressed your profound hopes and concerns in the face of the challenges, both personal and social, of your work as educators.
In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus, the Master, teaches the crowds and the small group of his disciples by accommodating himself to their ability to understand. He does this with parables, like that of the sower (cf. Lk 8:4-15). He does it in a way that everyone can understand. Jesus does not seek to “play the professor”. Instead, he seeks to reach people’s hearts, their understanding and their lives, so that they may bear fruit.
The parable of the sower speaks to us of “cultivating”. It speaks of various kinds of soil, ways of sowing and bearing fruit, and how they are all related. Ever since the time of Genesis, God has quietly urged us to “cultivate and care for the earth”.
God does not only give us life: he gives us the earth, he gives us all of creation. He does not only give man a partner and endless possibilities: he also gives human beings a task, he gives them a mission. He invites them to be a part of his creative work and he says: “Cultivate it! I am giving you seeds, soil, water and sun. I am giving you your hands and those of your brothers and sisters. There it is, it is yours. It is a gift, a present, an offering. It is not something that can be bought or acquired. It precedes us and it will be there long after us.
Our world is a gift given to us by God so that, with him, we can make it our own. God did not will creation for himself, so he could see himself reflected in it. On the contrary: creation is a gift to be shared. It is the space that God gives us to build up with one another, to build a “we”. The world, history, all of time – this is the setting in which we build this “we” with God, with others, with the earth. This invitation is always present, more or less consciously in our life; it is always there.
But there is something else which is special. As Genesis recounts, after the word “cultivate”, another word immediately follows: “care”. Each explains the other. They go hand in hand. Those who do not cultivate do not care; those who do not care do not cultivate.
We are not only invited to share in the work of creation and to cultivate it, to make it grow and to develop it. We are also invited to care for it, to protect it, to be its guardians. Nowadays we are increasingly aware of how important this is. It is no longer a mere recommendation, but rather a requirement, “because of the harm we have inflicted on [the earth] by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed it. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder it at will… This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor” (Laudato Si’, 2).
There is a relationship between our life and that of mother earth, between the way we live and the gift we have received from God. “The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation” (Laudato Si’, 48). Yet just as both can “deteriorate”, we can also say that they can “support one another and can be changed for the better”. This reciprocal relationship can lead to openness, transformation, and life, or to destruction and death.
One thing is certain: we can no longer turn our backs on reality, on our brothers and sisters, on mother earth. It is wrong to turn aside from what is happening all around us, as if certain situations did not exist or have nothing to do with our life.
Again and again we sense the urgency of the question which God put to Cain, “Where is your brother?” But I wonder if our answer continues to be: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9).
Here, in this university setting, it would be worthwhile reflecting on the way we educate about this earth of ours, which cries out to heaven.
Our academic institutions are seedbeds, places full of possibility, fertile soil which we must care for, cultivate and protect. Fertile soil thirsting for life.
My question to you, as educators, is this: Do you watch over your students, helping them to develop a critical sense, an open mind capable of caring for today’s world? A spirit capable of seeking new answers to the varied challenges that society sets before us? Are you able to encourage them not to disregard the world around them? Does our life, with its uncertainties, mysteries and questions, find a place in the university curriculum or different academic activities? Do we enable and support a constructive debate which fosters dialogue in the pursuit of a more humane world?
One avenue of reflection involves all of us, family, schools and teachers. How do we help our young people not to see a university degree as synonymous with higher status, money and social prestige. How can we help make their education a mark of greater responsibility in the face of today’s problems, the needs of the poor, concern for the environment?
I also have a question for you, dear students. You are Ecuador’s present and future, the seedbed of your society’s future growth. Do you realize that this time of study is not only a right, but a privilege? How many of your friends, known or unknown, would like to have a place in this house but, for various reasons, do not? To what extent do our studies help us feel solidarity with them?
Educational communities play an essential role in the enrichment of civic and cultural life. It is not enough to analyze and describe reality: there is a need to shape environments of creative thinking, discussions which develop alternatives to current problems, especially today.
Faced with the globalization of a technocratic paradigm which tends to believe “that every increase in power means an increase of progress itself, an advance in security, usefulness, welfare and vigor; …an assimilation of new values into the stream of culture, as if reality, goodness and truth automatically flow from technological and economic power as such” (Laudato Si’, 105), it is urgent that we keep reflecting on and talking about our current situation. We need to ask ourselves about the kind of culture we want not only for ourselves, but for our children and our grandchildren. We have received this earth as an inheritance, as a gift, in trust. We would do well to ask ourselves: “What kind of world do we want to leave behind? What meaning or direction do we want to give to our lives? Why have we been put here? What is the purpose of our work and all our efforts?” (cf. Laudato Si’, 160).
Personal initiatives are always necessary and good. But we are asked to go one step further: to start viewing reality in an organic and not fragmented way, to ask about where we stand in relation to others, inasmuch as “everything is interconnected” (Laudato Si’, 138).
As a university, as educational institutions, as teachers and students, life itself challenges us to answer this question: What does this world need us for? Where is your brother?
May the Holy Spirit inspire and accompany us, for he has summoned us, invited us, given us the opportunity and the duty to offer the best of ourselves. He is the same Spirit who on the first day of creation moved over the waters, ready to transform them, ready to bestow life. He is the same Spirit who gave the disciples the power of Pentecost.  The Spirit does not abandon us. He becomes one with us, so that we can encounter paths of new life. May he, the Spirit, always be our teacher and our companion along the way.

#PopeFrancis to #Clergy and #Religious " Mary is an example of discipleship...." FULL TEXT


Pope Francis at the National Marian Shrine of El Quinche in Quito, Ecuador. At the Shrine, the Holy Father met with clergy, religious, and seminarians from Ecuador. - AFP
08/07/2015 19:


(Vatican Radio) At the National Marian Shrine of El Quinche, Pope Francis met with clergy, men and women religious, and seminarians, for the final event in his trip to Ecuador.
The Holy Father did not deliver his prepared remarks, choosing instead to speak off-the-cuff - and from the heart - to those who had gathered at the Shrine. His prepared text focused on their call and their mission; on perseverance in that mission; an on joyful evangelization. The Pope also called on the clergy, religious, and seminarians to care for, encourage, and guide popular devotions.
The Santuary of El Quinche was built in 1928, and proclaimed the National Marian Sanctuary in 1985. The liturgical celebration of the Patron of Ecuador is celebrated on 21 November. Within the Shrine is the miraculous statue of The Virgin of El Quinche, a cedar-wood statue carved in 1586 by the famous sculptor Diego de Robles.
Below, please find the complete text of Pope Francis’ prepared remarks for the meeting with clergy, religious, and seminarians:
Meeting with Clergy, Religious and Seminarians
National Marian Shrine of “El Quinche”, Quito
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I place at the feet of Our Lady of Quinche the vivid experiences of my visit. I entrust to her heart the elderly and the sick whom I visited in the house of the Sisters of Charity, as well as the other meetings I have had. I entrust all of them to Mary’s heart; but at the same time I commend them to the hearts of each you, the priests, men and women religious, and seminarians. As those called to labor in the vineyard of the Lord, may you be protectors of all the experiences, the joys and sorrows of the Ecuadorian people.
I thank Bishop Lazzari, Father Mina and Sister Sandoval for their words, which lead me to share some thoughts on our common concern for God’s People.
In the Gospel, the Lord invites us to accept our mission without placing conditions. It is an important message which we must never forget. Here, in this Sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of the Presentation, it resounds in a special way. Mary is an example of discipleship for us who, like her, have received a vocation. Her trusting response, “Be it done unto me according to your word”, reminds us of her words at the wedding feast of Cana: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Her example is an invitation to serve as she served.
In the Presentation of the Virgin we find some suggestions for our own call. The child Mary was a gift from God to her parents and to all her people who were looking for liberation. This is something we see over and over again in the Scriptures. God responds to the cry of his people, sending a little child to bring salvation and to restore hope to elderly parents. The word of God tells us that, in the history of Israel, judges, prophets and kings are God’s gifts to his people, bringing them his tenderness and mercy. They are signs of God’s gratuitousness. It is he has chose them, who personally chose them and sent them. Realizing this helps us to move beyond our self-centeredness and to understand that we no longer belong to ourselves, that our vocation calls us to let go of all selfishness, all seeking of material gain or emotional rewards, as the Gospel has told us. We are not hired workers, but servants. We have not come to be served, but to serve, and we do so with complete detachment, without walking stick or bag.
Some traditions about devotion to Our Lady of Quinche relate that Diego de Robles made the image after being commissioned by the indigenous Lumbicí people. Diego did not so this out of piety, but for economic benefit. Since the Lumbicí were unable to pay him, he brought the image to Oyacachi and exchanged it for cedar planks. But Diego ignored their earnest plea that he also make an altar for the image, until, after falling from his horse and in danger of death, he felt the protection of the Virgin Mary. So he went back to the town and built the foot of the image. All of us have had the experience of a God who brings us to the cross, who calls us in the midst of our faults and failings. May pride and worldliness not make us forget what God has rescued us from! May the Our Lady of Quinche make us leave behind ambition, selfish interests, and excessive concern about ourselves!
The “authority” which the Apostles receive from Jesus is not for their own benefit: our gifts are meant to be used to renew and build up the Church. Do not refuse to share, do not hesitate to give, do not be caught up in your own comforts, but be like a spring which spills over and refreshes others, especially those burdened by sin, disappointment and resentment (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 272).
Something else that Our Lady’s Presentation makes me think of is perseverance. In the evocative iconography associated with this feast, the Child Mary is shown moving away from her parents as she climbs the steps of the Temple. Mary does not look back and, in a clear reference to the evangelical admonition, she moves forward with determination. We, like the disciples in the Gospel, also need to move forward as we bring to all peoples and places the Good News of Jesus. Perseverance in mission is not about going from house to house, looking for a place where we will be more comfortably welcomed. It means casting our lot with Jesus to the end. Some stories of the apparition of Our Lady of Quinche speak of “a woman with a child in her arms” who appeared on several successive evenings to the natives of Oyacachi when they were fleeing from attacks by bears. Mary kept appearing to her children, but they didn’t believe her, they didn’t trust this woman, even though they admired her perseverance in coming each evening at sunset. To persevere even though we are rejected, despite the darkness and growing uncertainty and dangers – this is what we are called to do, in the knowledge that we are not alone, that God’s Holy People walks with us.
In some sense, the image of the child Mary ascending the steps of the Temple reminds us of the Church, which accompanies and supports every missionary disciple. Mary is with her parents, who handed on to her the memory of the faith and now generously offer her to the Lord so that she can follow in his way. She is part of a community, represented by the “maiden companions” who escort her with lamps alight (cf. Ps 44:15); in those companions the Fathers of the Church saw a foreshadowing of all those who, in imitation of Mary, seek wholeheartedly to become friends of God. Finally, she is received by the waiting priests, who remind us that the Church’s pastors must welcome everyone with tender love and help to discern every spirit and every calling.
So let us walk together, helping one another, as we humbly implore the gift of perseverance in God’s service.
The apparition of Our Lady of Quinche was a moment of encounter, of communion, so that this place which from Incan times has been a place where people of various ethnicities have settled. How beautiful it is when the Church perseveres in her efforts to be a house and a school of communion, when we cultivate what I like to call “the culture of encounter”!
The image of Our Lady’s Presentation tells us that, after being blessed by the priests, the child Mary began to dance at the foot of the altar. I think of the joy expressed in the imagery of the wedding feast, of the friend of the bridegroom, of the bride bedecked with her jewels. It is the happiness of all those who have discovered a treasure and left everything behind in order to gain it. To find the Lord, to dwell in his house, to share in his life, commits us to proclaiming his Kingdom and bringing his salvation to all. Crossing the threshold of the Temple means becoming, like Mary, temples of the Lord and setting out to bring the good news to our brothers and sisters. Our Lady, as the first missionary disciple, once she had received the message of the angel, left with haste to a town of Judah to share this incredible joy, which led Saint John the Baptist to leap in his mother’s womb. The one who hears the Lord’s voice “leaps with joy” and becomes for his or her own time a herald of his joy.  The joy of evangelization leads the Church to go forth, like Mary.
There are many reasons offered for the translation of the shrine from Oyacachi to this place. There is one which I find particularly convincing: “for many people, this place has always been easier to reach”. That was the idea of the Archbishop of Quito, Fray Luis López de Solís, when he ordered the building of a shrine capable of attracting and embracing everyone. A Church on the move is a Church which is close to people, overcoming obstacles, leaving its own comfort behind and daring to reach out to the peripheries which need the light of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium, 20).
Let us now turn to the tasks which await us, urged on by the holy people which God has entrusted to our care. Among those tasks, let us not neglect to care for, encourage and guide the popular devotions which are so powerfully felt in this holy place and which are widespread in the countries of Latin America. The faithful express the faith in their own language, and they show their deepest feelings of sadness, uncertainty, joy, failure, and thanksgiving in various devotions: processions, votive lights, flowers, and hymns. All of these are beautiful expressions of their faith in the Lord and their love for his Mother, who is also our Mother.
Here in Quinche, the story of God and man converge in the life of one woman, Mary. They come together in one home, our common home, our sister, mother earth. The traditions of this devotion speak of cedar trees, bears, the crevasse in the rock which here became the first home of the Mother of God. They speak to us of a “yesterday” when birds surrounded this place, and of a “today” of flowers which adorn its surroundings. The origins of this devotion bring us back to a time of simple and “serene harmony with creation”, when one could contemplate “the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us, whose presence ‘must not be contrived but found, uncovered’” (Laudato Si, 225). God’s presence is revealed in the created world, in his beloved Son, and in the Eucharist which enables each Christian to know him or her self as living members of the Church and an active participant in her mission (cf. Aparecida Document, 264). And it is present in Our Lady of Quinche, who from the first proclamation of the faith until our own day has accompanied the indigenous peoples. To her we entrust our vocation; may she make us a gift to our people; may she grant us perseverance in our commitment and in the joy of going forth to bring the Gospel of her Son Jesus, together with our shepherds, to the fringes, the peripheries of our beloved Ecuador.

2015

Saint July 8 : St. Priscilla and St. Aquila - #Friends of St. Paul


Today, July 8, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Priscilla and St. Aquila(first century),disciples and friends of Saint Paul. Priscilla and Aquila were a Jewish couple who had been exiled to Corinth, and hosted Saint Paul on his visit to that city. Likely converted by Saint Paul, they are later mentioned in the New Testament several times as “co-workers in Christ” and went on to preach and evangelize throughout the region. Holy legend tells us that Saint Priscilla was martyred by an angry mob at the end of her holy life.

3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. (Romans 16: 3-4)


19 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. (1 Corinthians 16:19-20)

Saints Priscilla and Aquila were tentmakers, sharing the same profession as Saint Paul, which is likely why he stayed with them. Priscilla and Aquila had likely been exiled from Rome by the order of Emperor Claudius who forbade Jews to live within the city walls. Following his time in Corinth, we learn in Acts of the Apostles that the holy couple—who Paul likely converted—accompanied him to Ephesus and worked alongside him for three years. It was in their home that Mass was likely celebrated.
1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 


18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. (Acts 18: 1-3; 18-19)

Upon Saint Paul’s departure, Aquila and Priscilla stayed behind, where they continued the work of the Lord.

24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. (Acts 18: 24-26)


Saints Priscilla and Aquila, as evident in the writings of Saint Paul, later met up with Paul in Rome, where they were likely martyred around the same time as Saint Paul. Catacombs in Rome are named for Saint Priscilla, where many holy men and women are buried.
It is interesting to note that Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned six times throughout the New Testament, and in half of those references, Aquila is listed first, whereas in the other half, Priscilla is mentioned first. This is likely indicative of Paul’s love of both, and his consideration of their being on equal terms in ministry and the eyes of the Lord. It is clear from the descriptions of this holy couple that Saint Priscilla was an effective teacher and evangelist without usurping or undermining her husband's ecclesial authority.

God of grace and might, we praise thee for thy servants Priscilla and Aquila, whom thou didst plenteously endow with gifts of zeal and eloquence to make known the truth of the Gospel. Raise up, we pray thee, in every country, heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Shared from 365 Rosaries

Latest #News from #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis in #Ecuador


08-07-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 127 

Summary
- Mass in Bicentennial Park: our faith is always revolutionary
- To the world of education: “we can no longer turn our backs on Mother Earth”
- To the representatives of civil society: gratuity, solidarity and subsidiarity are learned in the family and practised in society
- Other Pontifical Acts
Mass in Bicentennial Park: our faith is always revolutionary
Vatican City, 8 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's day began with a meeting with the bishops and bishops emeritus of Ecuador, in Bicentennial Park in Quito. After greetings from the president of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Fausto Gabriel Travez O.F.M., the Pope spoke with the bishops formally, behind closed doors.
 The meeting lasted around a hour, after which the Pope travelled by popemobile to the park, in the space previously occupied by the former airport and known as the “lung of Quito”, due to its 125 hectares of trees. He greeted the more than one and a half million faithful attending the Holy Mass for the Evangelisation of Peoples, at which the Holy Father presided, concelebrating with 1,200 priests.
 In the improvised sacristy he put on the liturgical vestments – stole, chasuble and miter – made in the Ecuadorian region of Azuay by local artisans and by the Descalzed Carmelites with the symbols of a calla lily, representing St. Mariana de Jesus, the first Ecuadorian saint, and the Heart of Jesus, to which Ecuador is consecrated.
In his second homily in Latin America, the Pope spoke about liberation: liberation from social inequality and sin, the need for inclusion at all levels and evangelisation as a vehicle for unity of aspirations, sensibilities and hopes.
He began by paraphrasing Jesus' remark at the Last Supper – The word of God calls us to live in unity, that the world may believe – and added, “I think of those hushed words of Jesus during the Last Supper as more of a shout, a cry rising up from this Mass which we are celebrating in Bicentennial Park. Let us imagine this together. The bicentennial which this Park commemorates was that of Latin America’s cry for independence. It was a cry which arose from being conscious of a lack of freedom, of exploitation and despoliation, of being 'subject to the passing whims of the powers that be'.
“I would like to see these two cries joined together, under the beautiful challenge of evangelisation. We evangelise not with grand words, or complicated concepts, but with 'the joy of the Gospel', which 'fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. For those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, loneliness, and an isolated conscience'. We who are gathered here at table with Jesus are ourselves a cry, a shout born of the conviction that his presence leads us to unity, 'pointing to a horizon of beauty and inviting others to a delicious banquet'.
“'Father, may they be one ... so that the world may believe'. This was Jesus’ prayer as he raised his eyes to heaven. This petition arose in a context of mission: 'As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world'. At that moment, the Lord experiences in his own flesh the worst of this world, a world he nonetheless loves dearly. Knowing full well its intrigues, its falsity and its betrayals, he does not turn away, he does not complain. We too encounter daily a world torn apart by wars and violence. It would be facile to think that division and hatred only concern struggles between countries or groups in society. Rather, they are a manifestation of that 'widespread individualism' which divides us and sets us against one another, they are a manifestation of that legacy of sin lurking in the heart of human beings, which causes so much suffering in society and all of creation. But is it precisely this troubled world, with its forms of egoism, into which Jesus sends us. We must not respond with nonchalance, or complain we do not have the resources to do the job, or that the problems are too big. Instead, we must respond by taking up the cry of Jesus and accepting the grace and challenge of being builders of unity.
“There was no shortage of conviction or strength in that cry for freedom which arose a little more than two hundred years ago. But history tells us that it only made headway once personal differences were set aside, together with the desire for power and the inability to appreciate other movements of liberation which were different yet not thereby opposed.
“Evangelisation can be a way to unite our hopes, concerns, ideals and even utopian visions. We believe this and we make it our cry. In our world, especially in some countries, different forms of war and conflict are re-emerging, yet we Christians wish to remain steadfast in our intention to respect others, to heal wounds, to build bridges, to strengthen relationships and to bear one another’s burdens. The desire for unity involves the delightful and comforting joy of evangelising, the conviction that we have an immense treasure to share, one which grows stronger from being shared, and becomes ever more sensitive to the needs of others. Hence the need to work for inclusivity at every level, to strive for this inclusivity at every level, to avoid forms of selfishness, to build communication and dialogue, to encourage collaboration. We need to give our hearts to our companions along the way, without suspicion or distrust. Trusting others is an art, because peace is an art. Our unity can hardly shine forth if spiritual worldliness makes us feud among ourselves in a futile quest for power, prestige, pleasure or economic security. And this on the backs of the poorest, the most excluded and vulnerable, those who still keep their dignity despite daily blows against it.
“Such unity is already an act of mission, that the world may believe. Evangelisation does not consist in proselytising, for proselytising is a caricature of evangelisation, but rather evangelising entails attracting by our witness those who are far off, it means humbly drawing near to those who feel distant from God in the Church, drawing near to those who feel judged and condemned outright by those who consider themselves to be perfect and pure. We are to draw near to those who are fearful or indifferent, and say to them: 'The Lord, with great respect and love, is also calling you to be a part of your people'. Because our God respects us even in our lowliness and in our sinfulness. This calling of the Lord is expressed with such humility and respect in the text from the Book of Revelations: 'Look, I am at the door and I am calling; do you want to open the door?' He does not use force, he does not break the lock, but instead, quite simply, he presses the doorbell, knocks gently on the door and then waits. This is our God!
“The Church’s mission as sacrament of salvation also has to do with her identity as a pilgrim people called to embrace all the nations of the earth. The more intense the communion between us, the more effective our mission becomes. Becoming a missionary Church requires constantly fostering communion, since mission does not have to do with outreach alone. We also need to be missionaries within the Church, showing that she is 'a mother who reaches out, showing that she is a welcoming home, a constant school of missionary communion'.
“Jesus’ prayer can be realised because he has consecrated us. He says, 'for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth'. The spiritual life of an evangeliser is born of this profound truth, which should not be confused with a few comforting religious exercises, a spirituality which is perhaps widespread. Jesus consecrates us so that we can encounter him, person to person; an encounter that leads us in turn to encounter others, to become involved with our world and to develop a passion for evangelisation.
“Intimacy with God, in itself incomprehensible, is revealed by images which speak to us of communion, communication, self-giving and love. For that reason, the unity to which Jesus calls us is not uniformity, but rather a 'multifaceted and inviting harmony'. The wealth of our differences, our diversity which becomes unity whenever we commemorate Holy Thursday, makes us wary of all temptations that suggest extremist proposals akin to totalitarian, ideological or sectarian schemes. The proposal offered by Jesus is a concrete one and not a notion. It is concrete: 'Go and do the same' he tells that man who asked, 'who is my neighbour?'. After telling the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus says, 'Go and do the same'. Nor is this proposal of Jesus something we can fashion as we will, setting conditions, choosing who can belong and who cannot; the religiosity of the ‘elite’. Jesus prays that we will all become part of a great family in which God is our Father, in which all of us are brothers and sisters. No one is excluded; and this is not about having the same tastes, the same concerns, the same gifts. We are brothers and sisters because God created us out of love and destined us, purely of his own initiative, to be his sons and daughters. We are brothers and sisters because God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying 'Abba! Father!'. We are brothers and sisters because, justified by the blood of Christ Jesus, we have passed from death to life and been made 'coheirs' of the promise. That is the salvation which God makes possible for us, and which the Church proclaims with joy: to be part of that 'we' which leads to the divine 'we'.
“Our cry, in this place linked to the original cry for freedom in this country, echoes that of St. Paul: 'Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!'. It is a cry every bit as urgent and pressing as was the cry for independence. It is similarly thrilling in its ardour. Brothers and sisters, have the same mind as Christ: May each of you be a witness to a fraternal communion which shines forth in our world!
“And how beautiful it would be if all could admire how much we care for one another, how we encourage and help each other. Giving of ourselves establishes an interpersonal relationship; we do not give 'things' but our very selves. Any act of giving means that we give ourselves. 'Giving of oneself” means letting all the power of that love which is God’s Holy Spirit take root in our lives, opening our hearts to his creative power. And giving of oneself even in the most difficult moments as on that Holy Thursday of the Lord when he perceived how they weaved a plot to betray him; but he gave himself, he gave himself for us with his plan of salvation. When we give of ourselves, we discover our true identity as children of God in the image of the Father and, like him, givers of life; we discover that we are brothers and sisters of Jesus, to whom we bear witness. This is what it means to evangelise; this is the new revolution – for our faith is always revolutionary – this is our deepest and most enduring cry”.
To the world of education: “we can no longer turn our backs on Mother Earth”
Vatican City, 8 July 2015 (VIS) – The Pope's second meeting with Ecuadorians took place in the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, a private university founded in 1946, property of the archdiocese of Quito and managed by Jesuit fathers, with 30,000 students currently enrolled.
The Holy Father was greeted by the rector, Cesar Fabian Carrasco Castro, and the bishop of Loja, Alfredo Jose Espinoza Mateus, president of the Episcopal Commission for Education and Culture. This was followed by a prayer, composed by St. Miguel Febres Cordero F.S.C. (1854-1910), known as St. Hermano Miguel, and a passage from the Gospel of St. Luke, the parable of the sower, was read.
In the discourse he subsequently pronounced, Francis expressed first his gratitude for the encounter in a university “which for almost sixty years has helped to further the Church’s educational mission in service to the men and women of this country”, and went on to consider the theme of care for creation and education as a seed for the transformation of society.
“In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus, the Master, teaches the crowds and the small group of his disciples by accommodating himself to their ability to understand. He does this with parables, like that of the sower. The Lord was always flexible in His way of teaching. He does it in a way that everyone can understand. Jesus does not seek to 'play the professor'”, emphasised the Pope. “Instead, He seeks to reach people’s hearts, their understanding and their lives, so that they may bear fruit. The parable of the sower speaks to us of 'cultivating'. It speaks of various kinds of soil, ways of sowing and bearing fruit, and how they are all related. Ever since the time of Genesis, God has quietly urged us to 'cultivate and care for the earth'. God does not only give us life: he gives us the earth, he gives us all of creation. He does not only give man a partner and endless possibilities: he also gives human beings a task, he gives them a mission. He invites them to be a part of his creative work and he says: 'Cultivate it! I am giving you seeds, soil, water and sun. I am giving you your hands and those of your brothers and sisters. There it is, it is yours. It is a gift, a present, an offering. It is not something that can be bought or acquired. It precedes us and it will be there long after us. Our world is a gift given to us by God so that, with Him, we can make it our own. God did not will creation for Himself, so He could see Himself reflected in it. On the contrary: creation is a gift to be shared. It is the space that God gives us to build up with one another, to build a 'we'. The world, history, all of time – this is the setting in which we build this 'we' with God, with others, with the earth. This invitation is always present, more or less consciously in our life; it is always there”.
But, Francis observed, “there is something else which is special. As Genesis recounts, after the word 'cultivate', another word immediately follows: 'care'. Each explains the other. They go hand in hand. Those who do not cultivate do not care; those who do not care do not cultivate. We are not only invited to share in the work of creation and to cultivate it, to make it grow and to develop it. We are also invited to care for it, to protect it, to be its guardians. Nowadays we are increasingly aware of how important this is. It is no longer a mere recommendation, but rather a requirement, 'because of the harm we have inflicted on [the earth] by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed it. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor'”.
He continued, “There is a relationship between our life and that of mother earth, between the way we live and the gift we have received from God. 'The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation'. Yet just as both can 'deteriorate', we can also say that they can 'support one another and can be changed for the better'. This reciprocal relationship can lead to openness, transformation, and life, or to destruction and death. One thing is certain: we can no longer turn our backs on reality, on our brothers and sisters, on mother earth. It is wrong to turn aside from what is happening all around us, as if certain situations did not exist or have nothing to do with our life. It is not lawful, much less human, to enter into the culture of waste. Again and again we sense the urgency of the question which God put to Cain, 'Where is your brother?' But I wonder if our answer continues to be: 'Am I my brother’s keeper?'.
“I live in Rome, where it is cold in winter. It can happen that just near the Vatican in the morning an elderly person is found dead from the cold. There is no news report in any of the daily or weekly newspapers. A poor person who dies today of cold and hunger is not a news item, but if the stock markets of the major world capitals drop two or three points, it is a great global scandal. I ask myself: 'Where is your brother?' And I ask you to do this once again, each of you, to ask this question, and to do so at the university. To you, Catholic University, I ask: 'Where is your brother?'”.
He went on to invite those present to ask themselves whether it would be worthwhile reflecting “on the way we educate about this earth of ours, which cries out to heaven”, within the university setting, as “our academic institutions are seedbeds, places full of possibility, fertile soil which we must care for, cultivate and protect. Fertile soil thirsting for life”.
“My question to you, as educators, is this: Do you watch over your students, helping them to develop a critical sense, an open mind capable of caring for today’s world? A spirit capable of seeking new answers to the varied challenges that society sets before us? Are you able to encourage them not to disregard the world around them? Does our life, with its uncertainties, mysteries and questions, find a place in the university curriculum or different academic activities? Do we enable and support a constructive debate which fosters dialogue in the pursuit of a more humane world? One avenue of reflection involves all of us, family, schools and teachers. How do we help our young people not to see a university degree as synonymous with higher status, money and social prestige. How can we help make their education a mark of greater responsibility in the face of today’s problems, the needs of the poor, concern for the environment?”
He continued, “I also have a question for you, dear students. You are Ecuador’s present and future, the seedbed of your society’s future growth. Do you realise that this time of study is not only a right, but a privilege? How many of your friends, known or unknown, would like to have a place in this house but, for various reasons, do not? To what extent do our studies help us feel solidarity with them?
“Educational communities play an essential role in the enrichment of civic and cultural life. It is not enough to analyse and describe reality: there is a need to shape environments of creative thinking, discussions which develop alternatives to current problems, especially today. Faced with the globalisation of a technocratic paradigm which tends to believe that 'every increase in power means an increase of progress itself, an advance in security, usefulness, welfare and vigour; … an assimilation of new values into the stream of culture, as if reality, goodness and truth automatically flow from technological and economic power as such', it is urgent that we keep reflecting on and talking about our current situation. We need to ask ourselves about the kind of culture we want not only for ourselves, but for our children and our grandchildren. We have received this earth as an inheritance, as a gift, in trust. We would do well to ask ourselves: 'What kind of world do we want to leave behind? What meaning or direction do we want to give to our lives? Why have we been put here? What is the purpose of our work and all our efforts?'”.
“Personal initiatives are always necessary and good”, he remarked. “But we are asked to go one step further: to start viewing reality in an organic and not fragmented way, to ask about where we stand in relation to others, inasmuch as 'everything is interconnected'. As a university, as educational institutions, as teachers and students, life itself challenges us to answer this question: What does this world need us for? Where is your brother?”
The Pope concluded by invoking the inspiration and company of the Holy Spirit “for He has summoned us, invited us, given us the opportunity and the duty to offer the best of ourselves. He is the same Spirit Who on the first day of creation moved over the waters, ready to transform them, ready to bestow life. He is the same Spirit who gave the disciples the power of Pentecost. The Spirit does not abandon us. He becomes one with us, so that we can encounter paths of new life. May He, the Spirit, always be our teacher and our companion along the way.
To the representatives of civil society: gratuity, solidarity and subsidiarity are learned in the family and practised in society
Vatican City, 8 July 2015 (VIS) – Shortly before 6 p.m. (local time) the Pope arrived at the Church of St. Francis, which along with its adjacent convent, constitutes the oldest Catholic religious building in Latin America. The site, of great symbolic significance for the indigenous populations as the base of the Inca and Caranqui military commanders, was acquired by the Franciscans using funds donated from Belgium. Construction began in 1536, the year of the foundation of Quito, and was completed in 1680, although the complex was subsequently extended and was nicknamed “El Escorial of the New World” for its artistic and architectural wealth, extending over three and a half hectares of buildings (13 cloisters, three churches, more than 3,500 colonial works of art and a splendid Franciscan library). It currently hosts various cultural and social activities as well as schools of painting, sculpture and engraving.
The mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas, awaited the Holy Father at the main entrance of the Church, in order to present him the keys to the city. Following this simple act, without speeches, the guardian of the Franciscan community welcomed Francis to the centre where he met with Ecuadorian civil society and the representatives of various sectors including culture and the economy, industrial and rural enterprise, voluntary work and sport. The indigenous Amazon peoples were well-represented.
After receiving greetings from the archbishop of Cuenca, Luis Gerardo Cabrera Herrera, president of the Commission for the Laity of the Episcopal Conference, and listening to the words of three laypeople, the Pope pronounced a discourse focusing on the importance of the family as the place where socially useful values such as solidarity, gratuity and respect are learned.
“As I entered this church, the Mayor of Quito gave me the keys to the city. So I can say that here, in Saint Francis of Quito, I feel at home. His expression of affectionate closeness, opening your doors to me, allows me to speak, in turn, about a few other keys: keys to our life in society, beginning with family life.
“Our society benefits when each person and social group feels truly at home. In a family, parents, grandparents and children feel at home; no one is excluded. If someone has a problem, even a serious one, even if he brought it upon himself, the rest of the family comes to his assistance; they support him. His problems are theirs. Should it not be the same in society? Our relationships in society and political life, though, are often based on confrontation and the attempt to eliminate our opponents. My position, my ideas and my plans will move forward if I can prevail over others and impose my will. Is this the way a family should be? In families, everyone contributes to the common purpose, everyone works for the common good, not denying each person’s individuality but encouraging and supporting it. The joys and sorrows of each are felt by all. That is what it means to be a family! If only we could view our political opponents or neighbours in the same way we view our children or our spouse, mother or father! Do we love our society? Do we love our country, the community which we are trying to build? Do we love it in the abstract, in theory? Let us love it by our actions more than by our words! In every person, in concrete situations, in our life together, love always leads to communication, never to isolation. St. Ignatius – allow me a publicity break – St. Ignatius told us in the Exercises that love is shown more through works than words. Le us love society in our works rather than in our words! And he also told us that love always communicates, it tends towards communication rather than isolation. Two criteria that can help us to look upon society with new eyes. Not only to look at it; to feel it, think it, touch it, love it”.
“This feeling can give rise to small gestures which strengthen personal bonds. I have often spoken of the importance of the family as the primary cell of society. In the family, we find the basic values of love, fraternity and mutual respect, which translate into essential values for society as a whole: gratitude, solidarity and subsidiarity”.
“Parents know that all their children are equally loved, even though each has his or her own character. But when children refuse to share what they have freely received, this relationship breaks down. The love of their parents helps children to overcome their selfishness, to learn to live with others, to yield and be patient. In the wider life of society we come to see that 'gratuitousness' is not something extra, but rather a necessary condition of justice. Who we are, and what we have, has been given to us so that we can place it at the service of others. Our task is to make it bear fruit in good works. The goods of the earth are meant for everyone, and however much someone may parade his property, it has a social mortgage. In this way we move beyond purely economic justice, based on commerce, towards social justice, which upholds the fundamental human right to a dignified life. The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits. As stewards of these riches which we have received, we have an obligation toward society as a whole and towards future generations. We cannot bequeath this heritage to them without proper care for the environment, without a sense of gratuitousness born of our contemplation of the created world. Among us today are some of our brothers and sisters representing the indigenous peoples of the Equatorial Amazon. That region is one of the 'richest areas both in the number of species and in endemic, rare or less protected species… it requires greater protection because of its immense importance for the global ecosystem … it possesses an enormously complex biodiversity which is almost impossible to appreciate fully, yet when [such woodlands] are burned down or levelled for purposes of cultivation, within the space of a few years countless species are lost and the areas frequently become arid wastelands'. Ecuador – together with other countries bordering the Amazon – has an opportunity to become a teacher of integral ecology. We received this world as an inheritance from past generations, but also as a loan from future generations, to whom we will have to return it. In an improved condition. And this is gratuity!”
“Out of the family’s experience of fraternity is born solidarity in society, which does not only consist in giving to those in need, but in feeling responsible for one another. If we see others as our brothers and sisters, then no one can be left out or set aside. Ecuador, like many Latin American nations, is now experiencing profound social and cultural changes, new challenges which need to be faced by every sector of society. Migration, overcrowded cities, consumerism, crises in the family, unemployment and pockets of poverty: all these factors create uncertainty and tensions which threaten social harmony. Laws and regulations, as well as social planning, need to aim at inclusion, create opportunities for dialogue and encounter, while leaving behind all forms of repression, excessive control or loss of freedom as painful past memories. Hoping in a better future calls for offering real opportunities to people, especially young people, creating employment, and ensuring an economic growth which is shared by all (rather than simply existing on paper, in macroeconomic statistics), and promoting a sustainable development capable of generating a solid and cohesive social fabric. Without solidarity this is impossible.
I referred to the young and to the lack of work. Worldwide, this is alarming. European countries which were at a high level a few decades ago are now experiencing rates of 40 to 50 per cent unemployment among the young population, those aged 25 or below. Without solidarity this cannot be resolved. I said to the Salesians [in Turin], 'Your institution was founded by Don Bosco to educate, to give emergency education to those young people today who have no work!' Why? Emergency, to prepare them for those little jobs that give them the dignity of bringing home bread for the table. For these young unemployed, those whom we call the 'neither nor' – they neither study nor work – what prospects are left? Dependency, sadness, depression, suicide – the statistics on suicide among the young are not fully published – or to enlist in projects of social madness that at least offer them an ideal? Today we are asked to take care, in a special way, with solidarity, of this third sector of exclusion of the throwaway culture. The first are children, because either they are unwanted – there are developed countries where the birthrate is almost at zero per cent – or they are killed before they are born. Then there are the elderly, abandoned and left, forgetting that they are the wisdom and memory of their people. They are discarded. And now it is the turn of the young. Who has taken their place? The servants of selfishness, the god of money at the centre of a system that crushes everyone.
“Finally, the respect for others which we learn in the family finds social expression in subsidiarity. To recognise that our choices are not necessarily the only legitimate ones is a healthy exercise in humility. In acknowledging the goodness inherent in others, even with their limitations, we see the richness present in diversity and the value of complementarity. Individuals and groups have the right to go their own way, even though they may sometimes make mistakes. In full respect for that freedom, civil society is called to help each person and social organisation to take up its specific role and thus contribute to the common good. Dialogue is needed and is fundamental for arriving at the truth, which cannot be imposed, but sought with a sincere and critical spirit. In a participatory democracy, each social group, indigenous peoples, Afro-Ecuadorians, women, civic associations and those engaged in public service are all indispensable participants in this dialogue. The walls, patios and cloisters of this city eloquently make this point: rooted in elements of Incan and Caranqui culture, beautiful in their proportions and shapes, boldly and strikingly combining different styles, the works of art produced by the 'Quito school' sum up that great dialogue, with its successes and failures, which is Ecuador’s history. Today we see how beautiful it is. If the past was marked by errors and abuses – how can we deny it! – we can say that the amalgamation which resulted radiates such exuberance that we can look to the future with great hope.
“The Church wishes for her part to cooperate in the pursuit of the common good, through her social and educational works, promoting ethical and spiritual values, and serving as a prophetic sign which brings a ray of light and hope to all, especially those most in need. Many people ask me, 'Father, why do you speak so much about the needy, about people in need, excluded people, those left by the wayside?'. It is simply because this reality, and the response to this reality, is at the heart of the Gospel. And precisely because the attitude with which we must face this reality is inscribed in the protocol on which we will be judged, in Matthew 25”.
Francis concluded, “Thank you for being here, for listening to me. I ask you please to carry my words of encouragement to the different communities and groups which you represent. May the Lord grant that the civil society which you represent may always be a fitting setting for experiencing and practising these values of gratuity, solidarity and subsidiarity”.
The Holy Father ended his day with a visit to the Church of the Society, the Society of Jesus' first temple in Ecuador, built between 1605 and 1765, and one of the most important architectural icons of the New World, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with some Jesuits from the community, he prayed privately before the image of Our Lady of Sorrows. The visit lasted around half an hour, after which the Pope transferred by car to the apostolic nuncio where he spent the night.
Today, 8 July, the Pope is scheduled to meet with the elderly in the Missionaries of Charity rest home in Tumbaco, and with the clergy in the El Quinche national Marian shrine. From there, the Pope will travel to Quito airport where he will depart for Bolivia, the second phase of his apostolic trip in Latin America.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 8 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Jose Luiz Gomes de Vasconcelos as bishop of Sobral (area 17,634, population 962,000, Catholics 815,000, priests 71, religious 114), Brazil. He is currently auxiliary of the archdiocese of Fortaleza, Brazil, and apostolic administrator of the diocese of Sobral.
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